But baby it’s cold outside

 

 

 

I really can’t stay. But baby it’s cold outside. I’ve got to go way. Whoa, but it’s cold outside. This evening has been, In hopin that you’d drop in, So very nice. I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice

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oh cos it’s…  cold outside.

It is freezing outside! Absolutely FREEZING! Heck even my chickens want nothing to do with coming out of the run or the coop.

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Fresh Eggs? If we can get to them in the 20 minutes it takes them to freeze solid and start to crack.

I admit that I pushed Humpty Dumpty, I let the dogs out, and I am the fool always praying for a blizzard. But I like my cold in the positive numbers and more in the 20s. If it has to be this cold I like snow on the ground. I like a nice warm fire, but we have no fireplace and sitting out in these temps around the fire pit is not an option.

Yesterday we baked in an effort to help keep the house warm.  And boy did we bake!

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Love the smell of chocolate baking in the morning!

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Some Apple Pie Cupcakes and some chocolate hazelnut cupcakes.

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Some cupcakes for a customer, his company packages and distributes the hazelnut spread that I use.

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Made my new Valentine’s Day cupcake for kids. It is called a warm fuzzy and it has bubblegum flavored icing and white chocolate.

We even made a natural yeast starter for part of science and math. He also helped me convert a bunch of recipes and learned that 8oz doesn’t always mean a cup!

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B-man: is yeast a living thing?
Me: Yes, sir!
B-man: I will look it up to see what classification it is in……. it is a fungi! We eat fungi!!!
Me: Afraid so
B-man: Fungi tastes good!!!! We shall call the starter Francis Bobbio
Me: Wonderful

Here is how you start the Natural Yeast Starter: (The numbers are the days)

  1. 5oz organic whole-wheat flour & 5oz water; stir together and ferment overnight at room temp.
  2. 5oz starter from day one, 5oz organic whole-wheat flour, and 5oz water; discard 5oz of the starter add remaining 5oz of starter to the flour and water and mix to incorporate. Ferment overnight at room temp.

I will give you the rest of the instructions tomorrow for day three!

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I found some interesting learning material since most of the nation is stuck in this cold weather pattern.

NOAA has this webpage about changing seasons

KidsHealth has this one on Cold, Ice, and Snow Safety

CalTech has this webpage on a Guide to Snowflakes

USGS has put out this on the Water Cycle

NOAA has a site called SciJinks and has this on Why do we have Seasons?

We found this PDF on how to become a Weather Wizard

NOAA puts out this Winter Storms pdf

NASA has Climate Kids and has good links too

Frozen snowflake patterns

Lego snowflakes

Make a snowflake

If you are suffering through this frigid cold weather might as well make it a hands on learning experience.

Found this quote and this is where I leave you today:

If snowflakes were kisses, I would send you a blizzard!

 

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes!

Shannon

 

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Back to the Grind

Originally, we only planned to take 2 weeks off for the holidays. That was until my Dad called and asked me to spend 2 days painting his master bedroom in December.

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This took two days away from our studies……. kind of. I had him work on lapbooks and watch Magic School Bus and watch some BrainPop videos.  But we are behind as we start the new year off. But that is ok, we are not going to let it affect us. We are just picking up where we left off.

This week will look like this for us……

Math: Fractions, mixed Numbers, and decimals. We are going to do some hands on work with recipes and we are making a bread starter.

Language Arts: MineCraft Story Starters, main ideas, writing paragraphs, & writing a research paper. If you have a boy who is crazy about MineCraft, the story starters are amazing and you should check them out.  You have to subscribe to get them but it is very much worth it!

Science: Animal Kingdom, Cells, Ernest Just, Different Kinds of Cells, and Plant vs. Animal Cells. We are doing two lapbooks for this.

History: Civil War, North & South, Missouri Compromise, Missouri State Facts, Arkansas State Facts, Mason-Dixon Line, Abolitionist, Slaves Resisted, Dred Scott, and Lincoln-Douglas Debates. We are starting a lapbook for the civil war.

Reading: Celia, A Slave by Melton A McLauren. This is a true story of a 14-year-old slave girl in 1850.

Basic Spanish: Introduce Yourself

I guess it is time to get to work! See you back here tomorrow!

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Peace, Love, and Pies!

Shannon

To every season turn, turn, turn…..

The bible may be old, but it works. That is what my pastor says. Ecclesiates third chapter is titled Everything in God’s Own Time.

“Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to pull out what was planted,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build up,

a time to cry and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to hug and a time to stop hugging,

a time to start looking and a time to stop looking,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear apart and a time to sew together,

a time to keep quiet and a time to speak out,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

I think for most of us we have been through all these time. Lately I have been through all these time in the last six months.

A lot of the grief we have been through lately is with our youngest and the schools here. When we moved here 14 years ago it was a small school district with seven school in the district. It was a growing district and we knew that. The district is now close to 20 schools total. The district is growing so fast they can’t keep up with the growth. In the 2014-2015 school year they will add 5,000 new students to the district, not sure where they are going to put them all. My son’s school will add 300 students next year and 90 of them will be kindergarteners. Now the school is already at capacity and they are talking about making the specials go to a cart system to free up classrooms. I am not a fan of this, kids need an art room, a music room, a computer lab, and a gym.Kids also need two recesses, but that is a different soapbox for another day.

When I was growing up we, 1980s, we had computers in the library and music was traveling. This was how the Blue Springs School District made do. In 4th grade there was an additional classroom needed and they pulled 18-20 kids from the four classes and gave us the counselors room for a classroom. I have been through the growing pains of a growing school district as a student and it is confusing to students.

Currently my son sits in a classroom with 25 or more students. All of them with their own needs and wants and demands on the teacher. My youngest, aka Monster Child, has some needs that are struggling to be met. We asked for this teacher last year because she was a student teacher in his first grade class. She knew him and his “issues” and there would be no learning curve.

We had a horrible time in the second grade, the teacher didn’t understand him and said she didn’t have time to figure him out. We had a lot of tears shed that year, by parents and kid. We also had a bully that picked fights on the bus and beat the crap beat out of him one day in PE.

Third grade was a huge improvement and the teacher really tried and worked with us. I took a part-time job at the school to have an active hand in things. We still had the bully and the fights were getting worse. Finally as my mother-in-law was dying and I was taking care of her, my son had enough with the bully and beat him up and my kid was punished and the bully off Scott free. *The bully never picked on him again. Monster Child had an issue sitting still, so early in the year we took his chair away and he sat on an exercise ball. The exercise ball made him focus, strengthened his core, and allowed him to have a bounce rhythm that helped keeping him calm. The teacher also demanded that the school test him for a speech delay.

Monster Child has born deaf and gradually developed his hearing over the first two years of life. He didn’t babble until he was 8 months old. His speech was delayed from early on. We were always open and told the school repeatedly about this. We noticed it getting worse in second grade and asked the teacher, she blew it off. Third grade teacher heard it and did something about it.

Monster Child has been in Speech Therapy for almost a year. He works on his “sh”, “ch”, and”th” sounds. It is a fine motor skill that comes from the back of the throat.

Fourth grade has not been without the tears either. We have a new bully this year and it is a girl! Even better is that her mother is a teacher at the school. Bonus is that my oldest is good friends with the girl’s older half brothers. This child can do no wrong at the school…. ::snicker::. I have seen this child manipulate adults to her will. She does a thing to provoke reactions from others and then plays the victim.

*Example: One day in class they were sitting in groups around the classroom. She happened to be sitting at my son’s desk. She started messing around with his things. Monster Child politely asked her to stop and leave his things alone. Her response….. “I am going to rip your eyes out and shove them down your throat.” (Um…… WOW!) His response was “I am going to stuff an oil rag down your throat” The teacher only heard this snip of the whole thing and took his recess away for a week!

Of course I threw a fit and told her what happened the next day. She knew there was previous issues but didn’t think they were this bad. She now keeps these two apart. She now sees this child with new eyes. This is one of the issues we have with the school district. They are punishing the child who is getting bullied. The child who is the bully gets excuses on why they did it and we have to let them grow and learn.

Another issue we have is the class sizes. Now Missouri is getting on board with the idea that having a manageable class size really does make a difference in how well students do in school. Having smaller classes mean that children learn more, they have better achievement and they have better lifetime outcomes if they’re in smaller classes. The average class size in the United States has increased 5 percent, to almost 22 students per classroom. We are way above that!! According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 22 also is the average class size in Missouri. Missouri is now saying that class sizes need to be 18-20 students. Our school will be raising class sizes next year to close to 30 student to one teacher!

The last issue I will talk about is the staff itself at the school. I have seen these teachers in the classroom, away from parents and I can honestly say I am not impressed with the 5th grade teacher options. I have seen them yell and scream at the kids, I have heard them call them names. The fifth grade classes at the school are the most unhappy kids I have seen. The thought of Monster Child being in one of those classes makes me want to run screaming from them.

Well, that is kind of what we are doing. We are turning and high-tailing it out of there for 5th grade year.

We are homeschooling next year!!

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Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states in the U.S., however, each state has different levels of regulation and guidelines.

  • States requiring no notice include Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Texas.

Yep, I am in Missouri!  DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) does not regulate home schooling. There is no registration for home schooling.  There are very few rules given to us about home schooling in Missouri. This is what we are told and the guidance we get.

According to Section 167.031 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, a parent or guardian of a child, between the ages of seven (7) and seventeen (17) years of age, shall cause the child to attend regularly some public, private, parochial, parish, home school or a combination of such schools. Any parent may educate a child at home. The parent does not need a teaching certificate or need to meet any education requirements in order to provide home instruction.

If a parent decides to home school, he or she must offer 1,000 hours of instruction during the school year, with at least 600 hours in the basics, which will be in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. At least 400 of the 600 hours shall occur in the home location.

**By the way most kids spend 900 hours in a school!**

A parent who is home schooling a child must maintain the following records:
  1. A plan book, diary, daily log, or other written record indicating the subjects taught and the activities engaged in with the student;
  2. A portfolio containing samples of the student’s academic work;
  3. A record of evaluation of the student’s academic progress; or
  4. Other written, or credible evidence equivalent to a, b, and c.
  5. The school year is defined as beginning July 1 and ending the next June 30.
  6. Children with disabilities attending a home school program may receive special education services provided by the local school district, in accordance with Section 162.996 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, and the State Plan for Special Education.

Section 167.042 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, states that a parent or guardian may notify the superintendent of schools or the recorder of county deeds, in the county where the child legally resides, of their intent to home school. This is to be done before September 1 annually. Home-schooled students do not register with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Now if Monster Child still requires Speech Therapy next year the school district will provide that. Otherwise we are on our own. I have started working on our curriculum for the next year.  Lots to do and lots of questions. We are doing this on a one year trial basis. Keep your fingers crossed. Good thing my son and I have a great relationship!
I will keep you informed and updated on our journey!
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~Love, Peace, and Chickens!

 

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Black Ice

Sorry, I was MIA Sunday. I have a valid reason.

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I live in the glorious and ever-changing weather state of Missouri. The saying is “If you don’t like the weather, stick around it will change in an hour”. They said last week that we were suppose to get snow Friday night and get 1-3″, never happened. Then Saturday night we were suppose to get sleet and then changing over to snow early Sunday morning.

We just got the sleet and ice, maybe 1-3″.

Sunday morning we discovered we were out of tea bags. We gave up soda a year ago and we drink sweet tea, Crystal Light, Kool-Aid, and water now. Tea bags are vital to the survival of our house.

We live a ten minute walk from Wal-Mart, 3 minute drive. My husband and I decided to walk it since de-thawing the car meant an extra 30 minutes and wasted gas. The walk there was not bad, a bit cold at 2 with the wind-chill. We got to Wal-Mart and I step on the walk from the side parking lot and hit what I thought was wet pavement and BAM, I was on my rear!

I put my hand out and down and they took the brunt of my fall. I am lucky I fell on my rear and not my back or hit my head. My husband helped me up and we went in and got our 8 items we had to have, none of which was bread, eggs, or milk.

As we were leaving I told the cashier they really need to put ice melt down on the side-walk. She grabbed a manager/supervisor and I told her what I had just told the cashier. Her response was “that is what we deal with” she didn’t care a customer could have been hurt. We walked out and we saw a guy putting salt down at the entrance. I told him you should put some ice melt down over there. He said “Manager says I need to only cover where people walk”. Um??? People walk on the walks and they don’t teleport from their cars to the front door!

We left and walked back home, as I started to thaw at home things started hurting. Of course my rear end, both hands, my right elbow, my shoulders, and my mid-back area which caused my chest to hurt.

I still hurt today and I have a lovely bruise on my right hand that make grabbing anything painful. I have a small bruise on my left hand and my chest still hurts, but hey it is only when I breathe. Maybe I will breathe less.

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I have to say I am severely disappointment in Wal-Mart and the management team. I only really buy two things there. I am no longer going to be a customer. I will drive the extra few miles now and shop at Target or my local grocery store.

Like Taylor Swift sings…… “We are never ever, ever getting back together We! Are never ever, ever getting back together”.

I will blog later about my organization I did yesterday in a bit.

Across Missouri and back

I spent most of today traveling from one side of Missouri to the other.

My husband’s mother died back in November of cancer. It was a fast time from when we found out to when she died. I was her caretaker in her final days along with hospice. We had her cremated. It takes a few weeks to get the ashes back and today we spread her ashes next to her mother and father in her plot.

While we were in Kansas City we had to go say goodbye to my 82 year old Grandmother. She has Alzheimer’s and Wednesday she fell an took a turn for the worse. She is unresponsive and has a weak pulse and very labored breathing.

All of her kids have made it to her side. My two aunts live close by. My uncle lives in another state and made it Thursday. My father was out of the country and it took him over two days of travel to make to her bedside.

The hospice taking care of her is the same we had with my mother in law. In fact it is the same team! Small world.

Currently we are traveling back to our house. We have a few days before we are traveling back across Missouri for her funeral.

I have to say I am not sad that she is dying but happy that she lived a very full life. Four children, seven grandchildren, and fourteen great grandchildren. It is her time to go and I know we shall meet again in heaven.
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