Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Introducing the family

I suppose I should introduce the members of this family that you will read about. First we have Me. I'm Mom Mom is 42yo and trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. Then there is Dad. Dad is also 42yo and has figured out what he wants to do when he grows up (play with computers). He'd just like to do it on his own terms. It's his goal to eventually work for himself.

The kids are:

Gothgirl who is almost 15 and tends to spend her days sleeping and her nights haunting the internet and chatting up a storm on her cell phone. Thank the gods that her best friends are all on the same network! Gothgirl has some gorgeous art and has a very creative view through the camera lens. She also can write quite well and has found a love of working in the kitchen. While I call her Gothgirl, she is much more the "happy bright" goth rather than the emo sullen teen goth. And she wears blue black hair much better than I ever could!

Next is Boo. Boo turns 12 on Friday. Boo likes things that blow up, are on fire or involved sharp metal objects. She isn't really macbre as it may seem. She's also my child most likely to grow up and be an 18th century pirate. She also takes gymnastics and enjoys cartwheels. Boo has been Boo since she was born. She loved Monsters Inc because there was a Disney character with her name. We like Boo too! Boo is also quite gothic and loves most of the same music as Gothgirl. She's my child who also adores CSI and L&O:SVU.

And then there is The Boy. The Boy isn't horrid. He isn't even bad. He's just "The Boy." His days are filled with computers, video games and cooking. He wants to be a cook when he grows up and that would be fine with me. He started a garden in his bedroom (don't ask) and his sole purpose of having this garden is so that he can eat the produce. Has nothing to do with nurturing, getting back to nature or enjoying plant life. It's all about cooking. Yesterday he made leomonade. He doesn't even like lemonade. But we had fresh lemons and he wanted to make leomonade so we got out the citrus press and pitcher and made lemonade. It's pretty good too.

It's still HOT!

I am so tired of the heat. We've been so very hot for the entire month of August. Temperatures well into the upper 90's with heat indeces well over 100°F. I hate summer as it is but add in super heat like this and it just makes me melt. The ONLY positive thing about the heat is that this high pressure system that has kept us in this heat bubble kept that monster hurricane Dean from moving into the northern gulf and hitting the US.

Yesterday we went to the dollar theater and watched Pirates of the Carribbean 3. I laugh harder everytime I see it. If it weren't for the growing pile of laundry I would go again today just for something to do rather than sit around the house. Of course Boo loves it that Elizabeth became the Pirate King. There was an article that The Dad sent to me yesterday from CNN via Mental Floss about The most successful pirate being a woman. Beauty, brains and the most booty. Saavy?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cool videos

Being that we are medieval recreationists as well as homeschoolers, we tend to find interesting things that span the centuries. We found these really cool videos on YouTube via the website Luttrell Psalter in Motion. Be sure to view the other videos by this same company as there are videos on throwing pottery and how bee hives were woven.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

House inspection is over!

Why didn't someone tell me that the home inspector wasn't going to look in the closets, under the sink, in the pantry, under the beds and in the refrigerator? If I had known that I would have just shoved everything into the aforementioned empty spaces and closed the doors! But, the house is clean and things are pretty close to where they belong. We have a long way ahead of us in the clutter-busting field, but considering I filled my van with a combination of recycling and stuff for Goodwill (which I also took and delivered to the recycling center and the Goodwill Donation Door) it feels much better. We will find out Monday how much the house is appraised for. Oh and he only measured two rooms and took pictures of three.

OK, that's over. Big deep cleansing breath and we are off to Barnes and Noble for a much deserved mental break before we throw ourselves into our next project (our SCA event this weekend (where I'm head cook.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wanna buy my house?

I'm serious. I would love it if someone would just magically appear at my door and say, "Oooo, this is the perfect house for our family!" It is a great family house. It has 4 modest (not too small not too big) bedrooms with ample closet space in each. It has 2 baths and only 1 tub (way less work, although we joke about having to leave the shower to turn around). The best part is all the living spaces. There is a nice sized living room, a dining room with an L shaped bar, a "music room" which I think is supposed to be the formal dining room, but it seems a weird place for a dining room so it houses our piano (heck, I'll throw the piano in for free if you buy the house), violin, records, guitar, penny whistles, and various percussion instruments. There are two bonus rooms to that. One is built into the garage and is a LARGE room that we call "the Hobby room" There is the laundry room in there which turns the room into an L and one leg of the L is where all my craft stuff is (tons of shelves!). The pantry is also located in here. The other bonus room is a finished in sunroom. It has six glorious windows that look out into the rolling backyard. The yard has a wonderful secluded feel thanks to all the ancient oaks and overgrown azaleas, even though it is in the middle of a built up neighborhood. The backyard is sunny enough for having a garden or maybe a few chickens. There is a paved basketball pad in the backyard (although Hurricane Dennis took out the goal post) and (interestingly) there is a sidewalk in the backyard so your little wee ones could ride their scooters and tricycles back and forth all day in the safety of your own back yard. We never hear the neighbors. It really is a great house. If it were in another place we wouldn't be selling it.

We just long to move back to Oregon so badly and this house is the one thing keeping us here. We hate the heat. We hate the humidity. We hate the hurricanes. We hate having summer 9 months out of the year. Any homeschool family that wants to live on the central gulf coast would love this house with all its shelves and closet space and nooks. It's central to so much of what Pensacola has to offer! So you want to buy my house?

Monday, August 20, 2007


Last night my nerdy family gathered around the tv to watch an "In Demand" show from the History Channel on cheese. We LOVE cheese. Cheese is like heaven. It is the one thing that truly keeps me from becoming vegan. They showcased a ton of different cheese and talked about how the cheese are made. Everything from Cheddar to American, from Brie to Swiss and from Roquefort to Gruyere. The part about Mozzarella was especially interesting, especially when they talked about the "taffy pulling" process of making the cheese. The kids were salivating within 15 minutes of the show.

The process is all very interesting to us as we have been experimenting with making cheese lately. I have some rennet and am considering trying my hand on the 30-minute Mozzarella from Animal Vegetable Miracle. The book is by Barbara Kingsglover, but isn't her normal genre. We have made much "Viking Bag Cheese" which is really quite easy. You take milk, heat it to 180°F and then add either lemon juice (makes for a mildly sweet tasting cheese) or vinegar (less sweet) to form the curds. Then you pour it through a strainer lined with cheese cloth and hang it to drip for a few hours. I have also found you can just squeeze the whey from it. If you simply drain it for a while you actually are making a Cottage cheese. It's very yummy cheese. You can add garlic, herbs, spices, etc to it if you want.

If you get a chance to watch this special do! It talks about the possible history of how cheese started (some bloke was carrying his goat's milk around in a bag made from the stomach of a goat or sheep which naturally contains rennet and thus the milk curdled - voila cheese) and how cheese particles have been found that are thousands of years old in Egyptian pyramids and other grave sites. I did know that the different cheeses are named primarily from where they are made. Some cheese will do fine no matter where they are made, such as Cheddar, Colby, and Mozzarella whereas other cheeses like Brie, Camembert and Roquefort. If memory serves me correct there was a huge issue with Feta cheese a few years back. The Greeks were saying that it couldn't truly be called Feta if it was made somewhere other than Greece. The European Union agreed with Greece and protected the name (they did the same with Camembert.) Unfortunately, the US doesn't agree and I have seen "feta" cheese that say "made in the USA." I guess this is just one more of those Ameri-centric things that makes the US feel superior and thus not having to "play well with others."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New glasses

Well, my new glasses came in and I had the kids take my picture in the two pair I got. Not sure why I am always suckered into the "buy 1 get 1 free" deals because I generally tend to only wear one of the two pairs.

I much prefer this pair. They are simpler and more plain.

E likes these best, but they need to be adjusted. They keep slipping down and while it doesn't show too well in the pictures, they are red with some gold accent thingy on the side.

Ok, that's all for today. We're just knitting in the cool indoors until it is time to go to the movies.

Monday, August 13, 2007


And then some. The heat index for Saturday was 126°F! Yes; one hundred twenty-six degrees!! That's like Phoenix hot! Today isn't much better as the heat index is supposed to be over 110°F. UGH!! I would stay home all day, but have to pick E up at the airport. I'm trying to think of things that we can do indoors with limited outside activity. It doesn't help that K is having a flare up with his allergies and is all croupy. Have no idea what set that off. We may go down to the T. T. Wentworth Museum as it is free and air conditioned. Maybe even over to the Pensacola Museum of Art on Tuesday as it is free and there is a showing of Matisse that I think E would like to see. And there is always the dollar theater, but we have seen everything we want there. Although Surf's Up may get another viewing from us as E hasn't seen it and it is rather funny (Chicken Joe is my hero!)

Friday, August 10, 2007

"These are silly questions!"

It's been fun watching M and K work through word problems in their math stuff. They are perplexed that the math problems don't take into account variables. Some highlights from this past week:

Q: If Mrs. Smith wants to buy all of her children new bicycles for Christmas and she has 8 children how many wheels will be under her tree?
A: Trees don't have wheels.

Q. If Tommy eats 2 apples every day, how many apples would he eat in a week?
A1. How do I know? What if Tommy doesn't want an apple one day or what if one of his two apples gets bruised? What happens if Tommy's sister eats one of his apples instead? Mom, there just isn't enough information here.
A2. Really bad poop. You shouldn't eat so many apples each day. You'll get bad poop.

Q. If Anne's rabbit has 2 babies and Jane's rabbit has 4 babies how many baby rabbits will they have?
A. Obviously the authors of this book have not studied the Fibonacci sequence or they would know that they could end up with a more rabbits than 6!

Math's going well otherwise and I'm getting a kick out of word problems.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

My Daemon

We are in the midst of read the Golden Compass. It is a lovely book. We went today to check out the movie website and you can choose your own daemon on it. Mine became a chimpanzee named Elleron. K became a fox, but M wants to wait until she finishes the book to find her daemon. E doesn't know we are reading the book yet (she's out of town.)

Oh and if anyone knows how to change the dimensions of the blog templates so that I have more room and less borders I would appreciate it. I used to be html saavy, but it was years ago and technology has changed. (Say it isn't so!)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Math, you see

After the kids asking for some "real math" we did an exploration of various math curricula to figure out what we wanted. I had this fear that they were all going to want something different and I would have to learn three different math styles. Didn't happen. They all wanted Math-U-See Yay!! One vendor. Our local homeschool convention was this weekend and while I wasn't interested in any of the seminars (I'm not new to homeschooling and don't need to find out how to make God appear in every lesson we do) I did want to see what curriculum dealers were there. I struck gold in that the Math-U-See folks were there and it is tax free week in Florida! Wee, that meant no tax and no shipping. An almost $30 savings.

We walked around a bit more. Most of the big Christian sales people were there (although, not oddly, Abeka wasn't there, but they do publish here so I guess they have no interest in promoting their work to those already familiar with it). BJU, Konos, Sonlight, etc. There was one science table there, but it was so crowded we never got to get a good look. Plus they sold live dissection kits (OK, they aren't live, but they aren't fake either) and I don't want to support that. I see no reason why school-aged children need to cut open frogs, cats, and fetal pigs to learn anatomy. Heck, I don't even see why college-aged people need to do dissection unless they are going into some sort of medical field. I had wanted to talk to the people at Bread Beckers but I never could get anyone's attention. It wasn't that they were all busy with customers but that they were all busy baking bread or cutting samples or stocking shelves. After several loud "Excuse me's" I decided they weren't interested in selling anything and moved on. I talked with my friend Rose who had her booth, there and she said mostly they were only talking to people who seemed to want to buy their breadmakers, grain mills and other expensive kitchen machines. Weird. I had wanted to ask them about their bulk whole grains and flours. Oh well. I have other resources.

We came home and the kids instantly wanted to "do math!" Woot. So we dug out the DVD's, got out the books, sharpened pencils and went to town. They've done 2 lessons each of the past two days and I'm not worried about them getting burned out on math. We are having fun discovering ships and figuring out what we want to study. E is gone for the next week, so maybe she will come up with some ideas while she is off partying in the "Big City."

Sunday, August 5, 2007


After three years of radical unschooling, my kids have asked for "something different, something more, something like school, but not school." Hmmm. Sounds a bit like homeschooling to me. We had a big brain-storming session so I could find out what it was that they wanted. They want lessons. They want assignments. They want goals. They want (in particular) math. They want to feel like they have learned something. So I took a big step off the unschooling platform and bought curriculum yesterday at our local homeschool conference! Wow!! That was a BIG step, too.

We came home and the kids instantly wanted to start doing the curriculum. I got up this morning and Keon was in doing math! We chose the Math-U-See system as it, well, makes sense to me and we can self pace easily with it. I'm learning things as well!

So this blog is to record the things that we do each day (or week or whenever we get around to blogging about it!) We will add photos, copies of our projects, ideas we come up with and questions we might have. I'm calling this "Learning around the world" because I'm hoping to create a sort of unit study with ships and boating as my main theme. Ships have been a part of our history since, well, gosh, a long time! Some would say since Moses built the ark, but we know that boats date back even further than the biblical stories. As we embark on this venture we hope to learn more about our world, its history and hopefully its future. We plan on studying everything from the first small dinghy that someone carved out of wood (or created out of animal skins) all the way to the ships that take humans to that great sea we call space.