Sunday, March 28, 2010

Photos of a freak hail storm....

View through the storm door- we couldn't open it due to the hail falling diagonally and hitting the glass.

It all started with the intense lightening striking and then it got really dark all of the sudden. Typical for summer but this is early spring. It wasn't long before we heard slight taps on the windows which quickly turned into pounding.

Most of it was about marble size with an occasional bigger one close to quarter size.

Not only did it hail, the rain poured and poured. This is what the back yard looked like after it was all over.

Quite a bit of the white stuff built up pretty quickly. Amazing. I guess you can figure what we will be studying tomorrow in school.....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Molly, McGee, and 18,000+ People's Obsession

Photo courtesy of Sportsmans Paradise Online

Photo courtesy of Sportsmans Paradise Online

Who is Molly? Who is McGee? Why are 18,000 people obsessed?

Well, a fellow Etsy team member passed a link to a live web cam that is currently showing the inside view of a barn owl nesting box. Mom, Molly, is inside with 2 owlets already hatched and more to come. Hence the obsession. It is very educational, soothing, and truly interesting to watch the daily comings and goings of this really neat owl family.

Right now there are two babies in there with another one due to hatch today. Daddy McGee will be very busy in the days to come, bringing home dinner.

Be sure to visit Sportsmans Paradise Online to get acquainted with this every growing owl family.

(Oh, and by the way, if you are squeamish, don't say I didn't warn you that you might just see some interesting things going on at mealtimes.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

American Responsibility

Definitions that every American needs to know as found on Webster's online dictionary website: (Don't take my word for it, click on the links to see for yourself)

1. Socialism-"any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods"

2. Republic- "a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law"

3. Democracy- " the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges"

4. Communism- " a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production"

Quotes of famous Americans: (as found on

Benjamin Franklin- "All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse. "

Thomas Jefferson- "That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves." "The Constitution is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please."

George Washington- "If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

Abraham Lincoln- "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. "

Food for thought, I would say.....

and yes, this is one of those blog posts with a message to my fellow Americans...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Frog's, Turtles, and Chickens, OH MY!!

My mother has quite the collection of yard critters- both live ones and those that aren't alive. Here are some of her critters that she gathered from the "fire ant" side of the house and moved to the "non- fire ant" side of the house. Let's hope the "other side" of the house continues to be the "non- fire ant" side of the house for a long, long, time.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

On Going Projects....

Quick! Point to the nearest chili bean! Phew, you made it.

Lately, I've been looking for opportunities to have as many "projects" that the kids can work on in school that they can handle. One such project was one that my 7th grader asked to do. She had found the project in her science book and it kind of went a long with the "wild" garden that is growing on my kitchen counters at this very moment.

The project involved painting 3 seeds with fingernail polish and leaving 3 seeds alone. All were put into jars of water and observed the next morning to see what the fingernail polish had done. Well, the lesson learned was that the seed needed water to penetrate into it, in order to start the germination process. Lesson learned and the girls had lots of fun painting kidney beans with fingernail polish.

A local Walmart store finally bit the bullet and began to close it's fabric department over the past few weeks. They didn't sell enough of the stuff to justify the fabric department's existence. (Could have been the fact that, at anytime of the day, no one was there to actually "cut" the fabric for you and the guy in automotive had no idea how to do it?) Anyway, I picked up 4 yards of homespun (shown in the photo above) for $0.56 a yard! What am I going to do with it? Well, I'm in need of some new cloth napkins for the kitchen. I should be able to make enough to keep us swimming in napkins for a long time. If you are interested in making your own cloth napkins, you can see this old post for a "how to".

As far as other projects, I'm desperately trying to figure out some kind of sewn item that would be good for men. Making things for women are easy- it's men that are the problem for me. Any ideas?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gardening Time Again and Our Plan- Sort Of.....

We had this brilliant idea to use an actual kit to start some seeds this year. The part that was not brilliant was that we had no idea that the seeds would sprout in 2 days (80% of them that is!!)

This is what we started with. We got it from our local Lowes store. They are little dehydrated peat disks that you water and then later plant your seeds in.

We had to soak the little disks almost all day before they "puffed" up to their normal size. We planted 2 rows of tomatoes, and one row each of the following: gourds, sunflowers, squash, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, chili pepper, bell pepper, and cucumbers.

Two days later, this is the shocking site that we saw! Uh, peat sure does sprout seeds, and fast! The bad thing is, we figured that we had a couple of weeks before these plants would need to be transplanted to (a yet undetermined location- eeek) somewhere else.

We are wanting to plant a garden at Uncle Bubba's again but due to the fire ant problem, we might even start some square foot gardens in the backyard this year. We are still debating what to do though. Regardless of what we are going to do, something needs to be decided soon as these plants are taking off! It's still a little too cold here but in a month, we should be able to get these seedlings in their permanent home.

As of today, all but the 2 types of peppers have sprouted and we've realized that we didn't plan very well already. Where am I going to keep 72 seedlings once we transplant them all into peat pots?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Abandoned Daffodils and Their New Home

Down in the woods, there were these abandoned little jewels. They were left over from times gone by. Who planted them, we don't know but what we do know, is that someone had inadvertently disturbed a lot of them from their bed near a trash pile. They were randomly growing a top piles of trash and debris, struggling to surface the leaves and brush. We rescued the stragglers that had migrated down the hill away from the big bed of these little guys.

We figured that they might be much happier in a place where people could actually see them and I'd get the satisfaction of finally having some flowers planted in my yard- not just in a pot on the porch!

So, here are the lone, "woods" grown daffodils in their new home. It's a start.....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Some Easter Pretties- New At Minnie Maes

Some time ago, we had a flood that, kind of, "affected" a lot of things that we had stored in our basement. To make a long story short, I discovered a box of Easter baskets that had seen better days. I figured that there had to be some way to make a fabric basket that could be washed, folded, and stored for next year. After all, a fabric basket wouldn't take up room in the basement, gather dust, or worse yet, get flooded!

I had no idea how to make one so I started playing around with with my fabric gift bag patterns, and Eureka! I managed to figure out how to make a small basket and made a second one shortly after. Days later, I made a larger version that could hold up to 3 dozen eggs and then I set out to cover the little boy market. After all, little boys hunt eggs too and maybe they don't like girly bunnies and butterflies!

Here are the first three fabric Easter Baskets that I made. They can be found at Minnie Maes if you would like to know more about them.

Here is my "boys" or "tom girls" version.....

Be sure to visit Minnie Maes to see these baskets and lots of other goodies!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day and Our Homeschool Experience

What? Are you confused? What's this guy doing in this St. Patrick's Day post, pointing at a pile of snakes?

Why, that's ole' St. Patrick himself! One of the things that he is known for, is for banishing snakes from Ireland. What does that have to do with St. Patrick's Day? Well, in our American culture, we have sort of "changed" the meaning of St. Patrick's Day.

Being a homeschool family, we spent the greater part of this morning researching what St. Patrick's Day really is and what all of the traditional symbols of St. Patrick's Day really mean.

We learned that in Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is a religious holiday, celebrating the date that St. Patrick died. He was known for driving the snakes out of Ireland (possibly meaning the driving out of Druid ceremonies that involved snakes). Most importantly, he spread the word of God and converted many non believers.

We also learned that many in Ireland feel that the color green is unlucky. American's have kind of introduced the drinking of beer as part of the holiday. Oh, and last but not least, the shamrock does indeed, have Irish backgrounds. St. Patrick himself taught that the shamrock represented the Trinity (Father, Son, and The Holy Ghost). So, how about that.

Our learning didn't stop at searching the web. The two younger kids wrote St. Patrick's Day stories (both about leprechauns) and I gave the older kids a fun sheet so they wouldn't feel left out. Later, we searched different locations (including the place where St. Patrick was born- Scotland, by the way) and Dublin Ireland using the street maps so we could get a bird's eye view of the real places. So, basically, it's like we traveled over the ocean and actually "saw" what we were studying with our own eyes (without having to leave the comforts of home!!). If I had thought ahead, we could have thrown some home economics in the mix and fixed some traditional Irish meals today but this mama wasn't that prepared....

Well, we traveled to Ireland and Scotland, wrote some stories, learned some history, AND managed to get our regular school work done. What a St. Patrick's Day we had!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The First Sign of Spring and The Tiny Snowman

This is it. I have proof. Spring isn't far off. These daffodils rising out of the leaves is solid proof. Mind you that daffodils usually bloom in late February/early March anyway but, hey, it means that winter is on the way out. After the 60 degree temps we have this coming week, I would suppose that these little beauties will be in bloom very soon.

Could this poor, little snowman be labeled, "making do with what you have?"

The day after we discovered the daffodils coming up, the weather man actually confirmed that we were in for some wintry weather again. I think this would be the 4th (I think, could have been the 4th-1/2- I'm just not sure now- I lost count....) snow that we would get this year- very, very unusual for us. It snowed all day but didn't stick until just before dark. Can you say, "disappointed kiddos?" We made the best of it though. Even though there was a scant amount of the white stuff on the ground, we were determined to make at least one snowman this year. (All of the other previous snows had been covered with sleet or were a dry snow which made it impossible for snowman construction.)

This is the final product. This little guy took up almost all of the area's available snow in the yard but he was worth it. The kids worked together to give him some personality- (via some asphalt rocks and sticks).

This photo is what he looked like the next morning, unfortunately. His little face fell off and he lost an arm. Poor little guy.

Maybe next year we'll get to build a gigantic snowman but for now, I'm content in knowing that, we at least made do with what we had and managed to produce a tiny snowman in the end- even if he didn't stick around for very long.