Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Book Review!

Oh do I recommend this book! I still don't know how exactly to describe it other gives much to think about. And I am not even done reading it. What I like most about it is the information on its pages is accessible. The writer's style is clear and to the point. Just about all stats can be manipulated but I don't get that sense here. I agree with his thoughts on education. His analysis on what makes an athlete great are intriguing at best. It has given me lots to think about. 10 thousand hours here we come! If you have read it I would love to hear your thoughts. I had to wait two months to get a copy from the library, but now I think I will buy it. Papa Peep has to read this!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year folks! I hope this year brings you and your loved ones good health, much peace, and true joy.

We enter a new decade and with everything new we see new possibilities. Some of us think about getting in shape; some about reading those books we've been meaning to get to; some about the great job that alludes us. The new possibilities are endless. Well, I say set your goals and work for them!! If you reach them, pat yourself on the back. If you don't, change them so you can, but don't give up on them.

Before a new school year begins, I always write down my goals for the peeps; what I will help them improve/learn/achieve. Usually around this time of year I check my list to make sure we are on track. Sometimes I realize we have achieved them without much effort. I write new ones. Sometimes we are totally off track. I readjust.

This school year I had them write down their own goals but not share them with me. I sealed each one and we will open them at the end of the school year. So far I can say we are on track as far as my goals for them go. What they set for themselves is beyond me. I do need to remind them to check their progress. I can't wait to discover and explore them.

Here is to a year full of possibilities!!!

Monday, December 07, 2009


No idea what those were until we hit geometry! I don't remember ever doing those in my geometry class and I have to say I am glad I didn't meet these guys sooner. I am just not artsy at all! I am literal. I am not very imaginative. I need live demonstrations. Sometimes I can follow written instructions but I need specific instructions on exactly what to do to get X. With tessellations all we kept finding was do this and this and see what you see. I see a big blob with wavy lines. They saw dolphins, and lizards, and horses. Not I! So why did I rack my brain over this. Middle Peep is taking a great online Math class and this was his assignment worth a test grade......a WHOLE test grade! This sort of stuff freaks me out.

In order to explain it to him, I had to understand it. You see...he is like his mama. He took one look at all those this and then this and see what you see...and he saw...a blob with wavy lines! I can not tell you how many times we Bing(?ed?) tessellations.  (OK...we Googled too but that didn't help any either.) Well I finally left him to it and offered no suggestions other than perhaps he should alternate the solid and polka dotted, etc.

This is what he did!

A close up!

In a different direction...

Mama is proud of you!!!!

Now we await the grade.....

Edited to add......he received a 93%. WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Welcome New School Year!

Well I have written this post several times but none made any sense. To put it simply, I have NEVER started the year this unprepared!

I've been homeschooling or we have been home learning since Oldest Peep was 3. This was not my choice but many have heard me tell the story of our start. A just-turned-3-year-old insisted every day for a month straight that I must teach her to read. When I saw that she was serious, I had to do some quick research because I had no idea where to start. I wasn't a teacher. I had no training but here she was insisting EVERY DAY!!!!! I, fortunately for all of us, stumbled across The Well Trained Mind. I was sold instantly. We started formal lessons when she was around 5. She again insisted on planners and schedule. (I know...she's weird that way....first born thing I think!) Every year after that I would go to homeschooling conferences, buy books, order books, read the WTM boards faithfully, buy back to school supplies, and eventually sit down to plan out the year.

This year.................................
I am still trying to decide on some subjects. Other subjects (like Latin) the peeps have taken the reigns and I have no idea how to reinvolve (is that a is tonight!) myself. Some things we are doing on the fly with no plan (music and art). Some planned things we haven't even started (History) because unplanned things keep coming up ( like this course on Justice by a Harvard Professor). We have two different science classes at home (Chemistry with Baby Peep and Conceptual Physics with the other 2 peeps) and 2 different science classes outside the home. The subjects giving me no headaches are being done online...... Classical Writing Diogenes: Maxim and Chreia (Oldest Peep) and Jacob's Geometry (Middle Peep). What a relief these have been! I don't have Oldest Peep in a puddle of tears because I suggested she rewrite a particular sentence in her story and I don't have to convince Middle Peep why writing just an answer to a problem is insufficient work at this level in math (not to mention teaching proofs to an 11 year old brain!)

So while I feel completely unprepared and I feel like a juggler on the first day of training camp, the peeps are actually producing work. They are learning. They are curious. They are progressing.

I guess the rest of the lesson plans can wait just a little longer. I have just this one sock to finish and this hat to knit up real quick and these new starts to plant and while I am at it, I might as well paint this wall because all this white is making me crazy, and.........

Well how has your school year started off? As planned?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Washington Renaissance Fair

How fun!!!! 
We found out about the Washington Renaissance Fair last week so on Sunday we decided to check it out. The last time we went to one of these was several years ago when we still lived in GA.

As soon as we parked the car, I felt like we had teleported to another time. It is always amazing to me to see how serious some people take this event. We saw all sorts of costumes. The part my kids enjoyed the most was the entertainers that walked about the place. When we first entered we saw a group of pirates hassling people in the pub. There was another pirate in the street walking around with a plank on a rope. We didn't really understand that. we really enjoyed seeing the Queen walking about from show to show with the Royal Court. Sadly, there was no King with her. And the food! Well, let's just say we all looked forward to walking around eating our huge turkey leg (not pictured). Enjoy the few pictures I was able to get.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


The garden is busy with activity!
The only herb we managed to grow was cilantro and that took us several tries to get going.

Finally here!!!!! 
Cherry tomatoes!
We have had tomatoes forever but they just were not ripening. 
Yesterday I noticed that they are on their way!!!!

Here the Roma Tomatoes are still very green!
But forming well!
Next we move on to the cucumbers. 
This summer we are growing two kinds of cucumbers. 

Regular cukes!!!

And lemon cucumbers!

This is the cucumber plant. Look at all those flowers. 

I have seen several bees busy pollinating so I hope we get many more cucumbers!

Onto the pole beans!

We have already harvested many!
We have 5 bean plants but this is the only one which has vined and also the only one that hasn't produced any beans. the others are small and bushy but have given us lots of beans. 
Weird, huh!
When I got these 2 plants all the natives doubted me. They pooh poohed my peppers. Well, guess who has peppers now! :-)
We just got 2 new strawberry plants. They are the everbearing variety! We can't wait!
These are the June bearing ones. The leaves have been doing well and we got a big crop in June but since then the leaves have been turning red. Anyone know why????? Please tell me it is normal!

Yes you read correctly! Watermelon in Western Washington!
Like the peppers I raised lots of eyebrows with my choice, but I think they are doing rather well. Let's hope the warmth doesn't run out before they actually grow. 
And since the weather did turn colder I got some broccoli plants. We have three and we will see how they do. These are a first for us.
So there you have it. A look around my garden. 
How is your garden doing?

Spring Rolls

I have been asked several times for this recipe. It is very simple once you have all the ingredients and a perfect meal on a summer evening when you don't want to eat anything warm.

First gather rice paper for spring rolls. I have found this in the Asian section of my local supermarket. You will also easily find these at any Asian market.

This is the only MUST have for these. All other ingredients are what I use but you can add practically anything you want in them.

I add: 
Green Leaf Lettuce
rinse and let dry

Turkey Kielbasa
cut into strips
and then cook
Bean thread
Put water to boil
Turn off and add threads
Cover and let sit in hot water until soft
You do not boil water with these in them. The hot water will soften and cook them. After they are soft I rinse them to cool them off but leave some water in the pot or they will be difficult to work with.
omelet style which I cut into strips (not pictured)
Here is where you can add other things. My mom makes them with shrimp instead of kielbasa. You could use strips of pork or chicken or beef or tofu. Imagine strips of albacore/ahi tuna or salmon. You can add cilantro if you like it.  
I usually add bean sprouts, but I had none on hand today.
 A local Pho place makes them with Thai Lemon Basil.
The possibilities are endless. You get to pick the ingredients.
Now I prepare all my filler ingredients beforehand. Everything is ready and in bowls on the island waiting for assembly. I put them in front of me from left to right in the order I need them. This would have made a great picture but I just now realized I didn't take one. Oh well! I am sure you get the "picture".
Now you must have a container big enough to fit the rice paper flat. I use this round and flat container.
I fill it with about 1/2 an inch of water and then heat it in the microwave. 
Once it is hot but not too hot to put my fingers in, I drop a rice paper sheet in the hot water.
In about 20 seconds it becomes very soft.
You will have to heat the water after every 4 or 5 sheets. Remember, the warmer the water the faster the rice paper softens.
Carefully take it out and lay it flat on your working surface.
Here starts the assembly!
Place about half of a green leaf lettuce on top in the middle.
Next place some bean threads.
Add your other ingredients.
Begin Rolling!
Fold the left and right sides over.
Then the side closet to you.
Finally, roll the entire thing over 
until you have a cigar shape roll.
Repeat a billion times because I promise you they will eat them as fast as you can make them.
I had to threaten them just so I could get a picture of a full serving dish. 
OH! And don't forget your favorite dipping sauce.
In your house it could be hot sauce!
Buen provecho!