Category Archives: links



Today was Grace’s virtual graduation. You can see the saved event (at least I think it’s saved) here. It was different, but they did a good job. We watched the ceremony, Grace turned her tassel, we went outside to pop some party poppers, then came back to open presents and party. Grandma called on Facetime so she could see Grace open presents. She got a book about surviving college, a whale necklace, a marine biology book, art supplies, a keychain, and Animal crossing game. We got her a Switch, but that was also an early birthday present. Grace’s diploma is being hand delivered next week and our church is doing a grad drive by on Sunday.

And just like that I go from 4 kids homeschooling to 3 to 2 to 1. Grace was accepted to Colorado Mountain College for the Environmental Science program, but since we can’t tour and there is no guarantee that school will be open in the Fall, she will start off at our local community college Arapahoe CC.


The week


Leyden jar, school, snow.

Platte river at River run park.

Rat in a space pod, new cage, watermelon octopus and passionfruit rat.

What’s cooking Wednesday, homemade cheese enchiladas with roasted poblano and tomatillo sauce and Depression cake with mirror glaze.

Roasted poblano and tomatillo salsa

1 lb tomatillos about 8-9
3 poblanos
2 jalapenos for an extra spicy kick
⅓ of a large red onion
3 garlic cloves
Pinch of cumin
Handful of cilantro leaves and stems
1 lime
Salt to taste

Turn on the broiler in your oven. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush it with some oil. Husk, wash and dry tomatillos. Wash and dry poblanos and jalapenos. Place all of this and the garlic cloves on the lined baking sheet. Drizzle some oil on top and a generous sprinkling of salt and toss to mix and coat evenly. Wrap oil-coated garlic cloves in a small piece of foil and place it on the baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet about 8 inches below the broiler and broil until the tomatillos and poblano peppers start to char (about 10 minutes, exact time depends on your broiler so make sure you keep an eye on it). Flip the tomatillos and peppers over and broil for another 5 – 10 minutes until they char on that side as well. Add the onion to char at this stage too if you like.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let it cool. Remove the stems from the poblano and jalapeno peppers. (de-seed the jalapeno peppers if you prefer a mild salsa verde). Unwrap the softened garlic cloves from the foil and let them cool. Place the roasted tomatillos, poblano, jalapeno, garlic, onion, cumin, cilantro, and juice of 1 lime in a food processor. Pulse until everything is evenly chopped. Taste and season.

Depression era chocolate cake

1 1/2 Cups flour (all-purpose)
3 Tbsp. cocoa (unsweetened)
1 Cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix first 5 dry ingredients in a greased 8″ square baking pan. Make 3 depressions in dry ingredients – two small, one larger. Pour vinegar in one depression, vanilla in the other and the vegetable oil in third larger depression. Pour water over all. Mix well until smooth.

Bake on middle rack of oven for 35 minutes. Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Cool. Top with your favorite frosting. Enjoy!

Note: Oven baking times may vary, be sure to check your cake to make sure you do not over bake.

Thoughtful Thursday. Take time today to pray, meditate, be quiet, be calm. In a world of chaos protect your physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health. Get outside for some fresh air, don’t watch the news that much, pray and be calm and joyful. More snow, Bear creek.

Jack ponders the snow.

Just KonMari’d my closet. This is probably the best time to throw away things that don’t ‘bring joy.’ Also, I found a suitcase that wasn’t unpacked from December. Blue tongue.

School today –
History (test), English (writing about culture and setting), Earth science (features of the solar system), Law and order (abolition and 13th amendment), Engineering (unit quiz), Algebra (quadratic functions)

Personal finance (banking), Chemistry (factors affecting reaction rates), Practical math (saving for retirement), British Lit (read From Nectar in a Sieve), Environmental science (acid rain)

Refuge drive.

Owl spotting.

Found some Coursera classes that look interesting. First two are mine, Forensics (Hannah), Water (Grace.)



It’s getting real now. I am mad. My birthday is next Monday and the ENTIRE state of Colorado just closed all bars and restaurants for 60 days. I know that sounds selfish, but dammit, I wanted to eat out at a local Turkish place.

So, today was a bit of school, some trips to the store to get plants and stuff, some reading and making macaroons for tomorrow. Hannah met up with a friend and Jack and I walked.

GirlTrek 30 day challenge, do at least 20 walks in the next 30 days, here are a few walking theme ideas to do.

☐ to the grocery store
☐ to the post office
☐ with co-workers
☐ wIth a friend
☐ across town
☐ at sunrise
☐ after a big meal.
☐ at sunset
☐ to get dessert
☐ to window shop
☐ to pick up litter
☐ to run an errand
☐ to visit a neighbor
☐ on a date
☐ instead of watching TV
☐ to the salon
☐ with a family member
☐ to wind down or relax

☐ to the end of your block
☐ around your block
☐ around your block twice
☐ as fast as you can, powerwalk
☐ 4 laps around a track, that’s a mile!
☐ 1 mile in 20 minutes or less
☐ 1 mile in 15 minutes or less
☐ 2 miles in 40 minutes or less
☐ 2 miles in 30 minutes or less
☐ 3.1 miles, that’s a 5K!
☐ 4 miles in 1 hour or less
☐ 6.21 miles, that’s a10K!
☐ to take a “sweaty selfie!”
☐ to earn a “GirlTrekGlow”
☐ in a pair of supportive sneakers
☐ in a “superhero blue”GirlTrek shirt
☐ in a race or charity walk

☐ along a river
☐ across a bridge
☐ on a beach
☐ on a wooded trail
☐ under a starry sky
☐ in a local park
☐ in a city park
☐ in a state park
☐ in a national park
☐ in a hilarious outfit
☐ to a street fair or market
☐ at a farmers market
☐ to a festival or concert
☐ to a museum
☐ to turn up
☐ to the best view of the city
☐ to a tourist site
☐ to a cultural landmark

☐ to celebrate good news
☐ to clear my head
☐ after a long day
☐ after a tough conversation
☐ in silence
☐ to pray or meditate
☐ to listen to music
☐ when I feel thankful
☐ when I feel joyful
☐ when I feel calm
☐ because I feel stuck
☐ because I feel stressed
☐ because I feel afraid
☐ because I feel sad
☐ because I feel alone
☐ because I feel angry
☐ to forgive myself or someone
☐ to remember that I am awesome

For those who suddenly find themselves homeschoolers due to school closures, it’s going to be hard. I have been homeschooling for 23 years, but I chose to do it. When you are suddenly thrust into the life by force, with factors that make it harder like single parent homes or dual working homes, younger children, children with disabilities – it’s going to be difficult but not impossible. Some schools are going on-line, but not everyone has access to a laptop/computer/tablet. You could use wi-fi at the library (if the library is open and you can get there), but don’t worry – 3-6 weeks off of ‘school’ is not going to impair your children.

Start with looking at who is going to stay home with the kids (unless they are of an age to stay home alone.) It may be a neighbor, grandparent, parent, older sibling, you may have to collaborate with other parents to do 2 days at one home, 2 days at another, etc.

Set a schedule, it’s not going to take as long to do school as it does at school, so if they have work or worksheets from a teacher, break it up into some kind of schedule. Allow for breaks, outdoor play, reading, etc. If you can’t use the links below, pencil, paper and books/DVD’s will get you the same amount of information.

Use this time to practice some life skills, cleaning bathrooms, personal hygiene, home repairs, shopping and cooking, meal planning, doing laundry (start to finish), etc. Start an indoor garden, start a kitchen herb garden, find ways to use food that you already have in a recipe.

If you have Internet and laptops utilize them for learning, Khan academy is free, there are documentaries for history, Youtube videos for science and (of course) books. Go stock up at the library on read alouds, history, science, fiction, non-fiction, DVD’s, audiobooks, etc. Below are some links to free on-line learning to get started.

ETA – if your library is shut down, utilize their on-line digital media and videos if you can.

Links –

I want to give those Mamas and Dads that are about to embark on a weeks long journey of ‘not their choice’ learning at home some words. It’s going to be okay. It’s scary right now, your kids are probably jumping for joy at the thought of being home for an extended period of time – but you? Not so much. What about work, bills, school work, tests, keeping them entertained etc?
I previously posted some tips for homeschooling, but here are a few more.

-Read. Read outloud, read real books, digital books, make your own books. Read graphic novels, read history, read Dr. Seuss. Listen to audiobooks. Download the library apps for access to tons of books. Find books at Little free libraries when the library is shut down.

-Write. Start a journal, write down what is happening right now – because it’s never happened in your kids lifetimes before. Create your own newspaper, make a digital version or handwrite one. Create poetry and simple paragraphs/5 paragraph/essays about things you’ve read/seen.

-Walk. Rec centers may be closed, but no one said you can’t walk around your neighborhood, go to a state park, find a new hiking trail. Look around, identify birds and animals. Learn the types of clouds, use a compass, identify local landmarks, make your own map.

-Cook. There is plenty of time now to cook together. Try new recipes. Use what’s in the pantry. Use spices, think outside the box. Get with neighbors and trade food staples. Learn how to can, make your own jams, jellies and pickled veggies. In Denver (and I assume in most cities) schools are still offering free breakfast and lunch to those that need it. Take advantage of what you need, but leave resources for others or be ready to help your neighbor.

-History/Math/Science. History can be read or watched as documentaries. Math is all around you, shopping, cooking, weather, statistics, on-line games. Play store and make change. Science projects, grab some balloons you can do a lot of easy experiments with them. Make a baking soda/vinegar volcano. Watch science videos on PBS and Youtube. Create a science fair project.

-Art. Break out the crayons, paper, canvas, paint, brushes, fingerpaints. Digital art, paper mache art, wire art, bead art. Create dioramas about historical events, make sand art, use chalk on the driveway. Learn how to stack rock cairns, create nature art, paint with water on the sidewalk.

-Worship. Whatever that looks like to you. Most churches will be shutting down, but some have on-line services. Go outside and pray, sing, read the Word. You don’t need to be in a physical church to worship. Hope is always present.

Links –
recipes using what you have –
Free nightly opera streaming –
Easy science experiments –…/50-easy-science-experiments-for-…
ebooks –
arts/crafts ideas –…/
virtual field trips –
Educational companies offering free subscriptions –…/list-of-education-compan…/…

Ride along, CBI field trip



Rachel Carson – 1907-1964

When marine biologist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1962, she changed the way we think about the environment. Throughout her life, Carson showed talent in both writing and the sciences; Carson earned a master’s degree in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932 and began working as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. She earned a National Book Award for her 1951 book The Sea Around Us, but it was Silent Spring that launched her into a role as a literary celebrity and reformer.

Silent Spring exposed environmental issues to the U.S. public for the first time. Carson documented the adverse effects of synthetic pesticides for humans and wildlife, revealed that the chemical industry was spreading lies and misinformation, and accused U.S. officials of negligence in accepting the use of pesticides without fully examining the harmful effects. Carson’s book outraged the public and led to a nationwide ban on DDT, a cancer-causing insecticide. The Environmental Protection Agency also owes its existence to Carson’s influence, as her book caused citizens and the government to be more environmentally conscious.

School today – Practical math (combinations and permutations, also finished population regression models), Chemistry (periodic table), Forensics (footwear and tire marks), British Lit (writing to a prompt)

English (complex or flat characters), Algebra (functions), World history (China’s Song and Tang dynasties), Astronomy (inner planets), Earth science (Earth’s history), Criminal justice (evaluating justice ethics)

Hannah went for her afternoon ride along, Officer P had a good afternoon. They pulled over 2 cars, went to a 911 call, went to check on an abandoned car and responded to 2 hotel calls.

Hannah liked the officer and said the afternoon ride along was a lot better than the morning one. Jack and I went on a cold Harriet hike.

Thursday –


Ada Lovelace: The First Computer Programmer

Ada Lovelace was the only legitimate daughter of Lord Byron, one of England’s most famous poets. Her parents separated shortly after Ada’s birth, and Byron left England. He died in Greece a few years later. Although she never knew her father, Byron’s legacy greatly influenced Ada’s upbringing. Her mother was paranoid that she would inherit her poet father’s erratic temperament, and made sure that she was tutored in mathematics and science.

At the age of 12, Lovelace conceptualized a flying machine.
After studying the anatomy of birds and the suitability of various materials, the young girl illustrated plans to construct a winged flying apparatus before moving on to think about powered flight. “I have got a scheme,” she wrote to her mother, “to make a thing in the form of a horse with a steam engine in the inside so contrived as to move an immense pair of wings, fixed on the outside of the horse, in such a manner as to carry it up into the air while a person sits on its back.”

When Ada was 17, her mentor Charles Babbage showed her the prototype for his ‘Difference Engine,’ the world’s first computer. In 1842, Babbage asked Lovelace to help translate an article about the plans for his newest machine, the ‘Analytical Engine.’ She appended a lengthy set of notes to her translation, in which she wrote an algorithm that the engine could use to compute Bernoulli numbers.

While the extent of her original contribution is disputed, her code is now considered the world’s first computer program. Lovelace foresaw the multi-purpose functionality of the modern computer. Although Babbage believed the use of his machines was confined to numerical calculations, she mused that any piece of content—including music, text, pictures and sounds—could be translated to digital form and manipulated by machine. Lovelace wrote that the analytical engine “might act upon other things besides number, were objects found whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of the abstract science of operations… Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of [mathematical] expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent.”

After school we went to the CBI Forensic lab on a field trip with school (we use an on-line K12 school, Destinations Career Academy of Colorado.)

Jack and I went on a sunset Harriet hike.

Friday –


Sarojini Naidu 1879-1949

Sarojini Naidu, also known as Sarojini Chattopadhyaya, was a famous Indian poet and a major freedom fighter who went on becoming the first Indian woman to be appointed the president of the Indian National Congress and the Governor of any state in India. Most of all, she was a noted child prodigy and a master of children’s literature. Naidu was given a sobriquet Bharat Kokila (The Nightingale of India) on account of her beautiful poems and songs. Some of her best books that established her as a potent writer include The Golden Threshold, The Gift of India, and The Broken Wing.

An active participant of the Indian Independence movement, Naidu joined the national movement taking Gandhi’s call and joined him in the popular Salt March to Dandi. With the Indian Independence in 1947, Sarojini Naidu was made the Governor of the Uttar Pradesh in the wake of her contribution to the movement.

We did school and I went to the doc to get knee shots. Wow, it was a bit painful at first, but by the evening it was better. Jack and I went to Chatfield for a Harriet hike.

Then we went to see the horses around Highlands Ranch.

Totem poles co-op


We got some school done, Agri science, Physical science, English, Geometry and PE. Hannah made some borax crystals overnight, her solution was a bit too super saturated we had to break the jar to get them out….note to self, don’t try to put two in one jar. Boil water, add food coloring, add borax until solution is saturated, attach a coiled up pipe cleaner (or other object for the crystals to attach to) to a string and hang that down in the solution overnight. Glass jars work best, but use one you don’t mind throwing away in case the crystals stick to the glass.

I put these pics of Zoe on FB, she is going to be a meme.

Maisy is never going to be a meme.

At the library we read some books, talked about Totem poles, then set out to make our own.

Coloring pages –

Totem is the image, animal or human, some clans totems are the animals that they will not eat or kill, other totems are crests telling the lineage of the family. Some totems are inside the house holding up the roof, some are outside with a hole for the door into the house, some are for the dead, some are for chiefs, some are planted in the yard. Most totems in the open are under 100 years old, most in museums are under 200 years old. Some totems are copied as they deteriorate so that the family can retain the crest. Totems can up raised up at a potlatch where the family hosts a feast to introduce the carving. Until the 1900’s carvers were men, hired by the family or person to carve the pole. Colors are limited, blue, yellow, black, white, green and red. Some other colors are used, but these are the primary ones.

  • Red is the color of blood, representing war or valor
  • Blue is for the skies and waters, including rivers and lakes
  • White is for the skies and spacious heavens
  • Yellow is the color of the sun, bringing light and happiness
  • Green is the earth with its hills, trees, and mountains
  • Black represents power.

Chart of Animal Totems and Meanings

Animal Totems & Meanings


Alligator – Emotional understanding, cleansing &
Spiritual Healing

Animal Totems & Meanings Badger

Badger – Bold, out-going, good communicator

Animal Totems & Meanings Bat

Bat – Death and Rebirth and Guardian of the Night

Animal Totems & Meanings Beaver

Beaver – Creative and Artistic ability, builder, resourcefulness and determination

Animals Totem & Meaning Bear

Bear – Strength, Solitude, Motherhood, Teaching and to learn Humility Meaning of Bear

Animal Totems & Meanings Bobcat

Bobcat – Independence, Clear Vision and self reliance

Animal Totems & Meanings Bumblebee

Bumblebee – Honesty, Pure Thinking, Willingness and Drive

Animal Totems & Meanings Buffalo

Buffalo – A manifestation of the Great Spirit, Knowledge, Generosity and abundance

Animal Totems & Meanings Butterfly

Butterfly – Represents transformation and the ability to accept change

Animal Totems & Meanings Cougar

Cougar – Power, leadership, humility and encourages responsibility for life

Animals Totem & Meaning Cow

Cow – Represents Motherhood, contentment, fertility and nourishment

Animal Totems & Meanings Crocodile

Crocodile – Strong will, Emotional understanding, cleansing and healing

Animal Totems & Meanings Coyote

Coyote – Helps you recognize your own mistakes, Stealth, Clowning and Humor

Animal Totems & Meanings Crow

Crow – Find balance living in present, release past beliefs, Skill and Cunning

Animal Totems & Meanings Deer

Deer – Healing, Gentleness, kindness & compassion

Animal Totems & Meanings Dolphin

Dolphin – Interpreting dreams, Change, Wisdom, Communication,

Animals Totem & Meaning Dog

Dog – Guidance, Loyalty and trust

Animal Totems & Meanings Dogfish

Dogfish – Persistence and Strength A Born Leader

Animal Totems & Meanings Dove

Dove – Love, Gentleness and Kindness

Animal Totems & Meanings Dragonfly

Dragonfly – Dreams, Illusions, Ever-changing Life

Animal Totems & Meanings Eagle

Eagle – Great Strength, courage Leadership and Prestige

Animals Totem & Meaning Elk

Elk – Bravery, agility and independence

Animal Totems & Meanings Falcon

The Falcon – Soul Healing, Speed and Movement

Animal Totems & Meanings Fox

The Fox – Cunning, Stealth and Feminine Courage

Animal Totems & Meanings Frog

Frog – Spring & New Life, Sensitivity, Communicator, Stability

Animal Totems & Meanings Grizzly Bear

The Grizzly Bear – Strength and Ferocity

Animal Totems & Meanings Halibut

The Halibut – Life protector, Strength and Stability

Animal Totems & Meanings Hawk

The Hawk – Guardianship, Strength, Far Sighted

Animals Totem & Meaning Heron

The Heron – Patience, Graceful and Easy Going

Animal Totems & Meanings Horse

Horse – Energy, Power, Message carrier, communicates with other realms

Animal Totems & Meanings Hummingbird

Hummingbird – Love, Beauty, Intelligence, Spirit Messenger and Stopper of Time

Animal Totems & Meanings Killer Whale

The Killer Whale – Seas and the Underworld, Traveler & Guardian and Symbol of Good

Animals Totem & Meaning Kingfisher

The Kingfisher – Luck, Patience, Speed and Agility

Animal Totems & Meanings Lizard

The Lizard – Awareness, Conservation, subconscious hopes and fears

Animal Totems & Meanings Moose

The Moose – Headstrong, Balance and Longevity

Animal Totems & Meanings Mouse

Mouse – Observant qualities and diligence

Animal Totems & Meanings Otter

The Otter – Feminine Power, Playful, Trusting, Inquisitive, Bright, Loyal and speedy

Animals Totem & Meaning Owl

The Owl – Wisdom, silent and swift, ability to see things normally, a creature of the night

Animal Totems & Meanings Raccoon

Raccoon – Curiosity, Creativity, Dexterity, Disguise

Animal Totems & Meanings Raven

Raven – Creation & Knowledge – Bringer of the Light

Animal Totems & Meanings Porcupine

Porcupine – Safety and Protection

Animal Totems & Meanings Salmon

Salmon – Persistence, Dependability and Renewal – A Provider

Animal Totems & Meanings Seal

The Seal – Bright, Inquisitive, Organized

Animal Totems & Meanings Shark

The Shark – Remorselessness, Survival, Adaptability

Animals Totem & Meaning Snake

The Snake – Rebirth, Resurrection, Initiation and Transformation

Animal Totems & Meanings Spider

The Spider – Creativity, weaving the web of fate

Animal Totems & Meanings Squirrel

Squirrel – Planning and Preparation

Animals Totem & Meaning Turtle

The Turtle – Self-Reliance, Tenacity, Slow Progress

Animal Totems & Meanings Weasel

The Weasel – Encourages you to develop your sense of inner hearing and to pay attention to your inner voice

Animal Totems & Meanings Whale

The Whale – Ancient Knowledge, Awareness

Animals Totem & Meaning Wolf

The Wolf – Intelligence & Leadership – Strong Sense of Family

Totem Pole Symbols – Tribal Totems

  • The totem pole symbols of the Tlingit tribe included the raven, frog, goose, sea lion, owl, salmon, beaver, codfish, skate, wolf, eagle, bear, killer-whale, shark, auk, gull, sparrow-hawk
  • The totem pole symbols of the Haida were the eagle, killer-whale, black bear, loon, woodpecker, thunderbird (mythical), hawk, wolf, dogfish, owl, otter, grizzly bear, sea lion, mountain goat
  • The totem pole symbols of the Tsimshian were the raven, codfish, starfish, eagle, halibut, beaver, whale, wolf, crane, grizzly bear, bear, killer whale, dolphin
  • The totem pole symbols of other tribes included the beaver, frog, raven, dogfish, halibut, land otter, starfish and hummingbird

Identifying Totem Pole Symbols and Images

Totem Pole People

Men and Women are represented fairly realistically. People can be depicted upright but more often in a crouching position. People are shown with erect ears and women are distinguished from men by a labret (lip ornament) in their lower lip.

Totem Pole Top Figures

The top figures often identify the tribe, clan or lineage such as the eagle or the raven

Totem Pole Land Animals

The eyes of land animals are carved as two curves enclosing a circle. Four legged animals are usually depicted in a crouching position. The bodies of most animals are facing the front.

Totem Pole Fish and Sea Mammals

The eyes of fish and some sea mammals are carved with round eyes

Totem Pole Birds

Birds are usually carved perched with their wings outstretched or folded at their sides. Their legs have large, clawed feet. Beaks horizontally protrude from the figure or carved tucked against the chest. All birds have eyebrows and have ears on the top of their heads.

Totem Pole Natural Phenomena

Images from nature including the sun, moon, stars and rainbows are also depicted

Totem Pole Wolf Symbols

The Wolf are carved with tall ears, a long sharp muzzle, elevated snout and lots of teeth

Totem Pole Eagle Symbols

The Eagle is distinguished by its short, curved beak

Totem Pole Beaver Symbols

The beaver is distinguished by its two protruding teeth and round nostrils. The beaver is often portrayed holding

Totem Pole Mountain Goat

The Mountain Goat is depicted with slender, sharp horns and cleft hoof with two toes

Totem Pole Killer Whale Symbols

The Killer Whale has two spines above the round eyes, two prominent dorsal fins, a large head and a mouth turned up at the corners. Often has spots painted on its back.

Totem Pole Shark Symbols

The Shark is depicted with gills slits as crescents and a crescent shaped mouth, turned down at the corners and filled with saw-like teeth

Totem Pole Frog Symbols

The Frog is portrayed as if seen from above.

Totem Pole Halibut Fish Symbols

The Halibut has a continuous fin and is depicted with both eyes on one side

Totem Pole Octopus Symbols

The Octopus is traditionally depicted with a bird like head, hooked bill, suction plates and tentacles

Totem Pole Bear Symbols

A realistic depiction of a bear but with large nostrils, paws, and fangs

Totem Pole Raven Symbols

The Raven is portrayed with a short, sharp, protruding beak

Totem Pole Insects

Various styles are used in Insect designs and are carved in a similar fashion to birds making their species difficult to distinguish

Back at home Grace made some cookies for youth group.

James and I dropped her off, then went to Perry’s for a drink and talked while the piano lady sang. I keep hoping the guy that was there one night is going to be back, he was so good.



After doing some school like this lesson about converse, inverse, conditional, biconditional and more statements and this lesson on single cell organisms, reading about the life of Helen Keller and reading about the Revolutionary war, we headed over to St. John’s for music at noon.

We liked the trumpet playing more than the organ playing.

Hannah tried to look like this carved face outside the church.


We saw some FB pics of what Joel’s troop had been up to that morning, practicing evacs over rough terrain.

Then we headed over to Civic center park to hand out bananas and water for Kindness Krewe. No one else showed up, so we didn’t feed too many people, water is heavy to carry and we only had 24 bottle and 20 bananas.

We didn’t even make one whole block before we were out of both. From there we went to LM’s because it was close and I needed to get some paper gift cards made into plastic ones. We dropped Grace at Gwen’s house to hang out for a bit, I made dinner, Hannah posed with Maisy and we watched a Father Brown.

NBTS – School year 2017-18 – Curriculum


I don’t know if there is a NBTS blog hop this year, but I like to do this every year to see how things change.

Grace is using K12 through Destination Career Academy of Colorado on the Agriculture path. Hannah is using K12 part-time through Colorado Digital Academy (meaning we are homeschoolers, she gets LA, Math and Science and I supplement the rest.) We have been using K12 through various on-line schools for 12 years. I have graduated two kids this way, it’s flexible, demanding, academic, structured and it works for us. But, K12 is not the only thing I use. No matter what courses they are taking through K12, we always have things that we do on our own. Some of these things are rabbit trails, things that occupy a portion of a week or month that involves delving deeper into a subject or studying something for the sake of learning more about it. The trail might come off of a lesson or it might be something that the girls are interested in the moment.

Grace has worship dance, River Watch sampling and testing once a month, art/crafts and library events in addition to school. Hannah has worship dance, French, music, art/crafts, library events and will start volunteering at Freedom service dogs soon. In addition to that we have park days, field trips, co-ops and hang-outs with our homeschool group. We also volunteer at church, hike as a family, swim and go to festivals and museums on our own. I have NIA, Holy Yoga, arts/crafts, library events and TNO for myself.

Some things we use besides K12

French (or any language) – Duolingo

History/science and more related crafts – Ellen McHenry’s basement

History – Big History Project

Lots of free MOOC classes (I take some too) – Coursera

More MOOC classes – EdX

Writing/Reading – Read Write Think

Science – Tree of Life

Science (this link goes to medicine, but in the upper left corner is a place to jump to Light, Nat. History and Astronomy) – Huntington

Bible – Biblegateway

Federal – Fed Resources for Education

Math – Kahn Academy

PBS (chock full of lots of stuff for all ages, grades and courses) – PBS learning media and PBS kids

BBC (some of the words are British, but this site is full of great stuff) – BBC Education


Park day, IT, medical terms, Stone Fox, cards for sick kids


Tuesday – School went by rather quickly, maybe because it was such a nice day and we wanted to play. I wore my awesome basketball socks to shoot hoops with Hannah, but she ended up playing gravel with Grace, A, G, M and B.

I got a sunburn through my shirt! It was  a thin shirt and I was standing out in the sun for almost 2 hours…didn’t think about the shirt being so thin. When we got back home I dropped the girls off, ran to do errands, went by the grocery store and the $1 store, then back home to make dinner (garlic chicken) in my new pan. I had to throw the old one out, I think the non-stick surface was worn off, everything stuck to the pan and last week everything smelled weird and tasted weird when cooked in the pan. Bethany went to yoga and wanted me to come, but I had no time (so I promised I would go Saturday morning.) I got my new Shutterfly notebook in, I put some of my art on the cover and my name (so when I lose it I can get it back.)

I found this site for medical terms, it’s a great help to Bethany. If I had time I would make a game of the word parts and meanings, but yeah, time.

Wednesday – I swear Maisy is like Pigpen from Charlie Brown. Every time she comes in the house and shakes – poof! Dried grass goes everywhere, this is why I need snow, so she can’t roll around on the grass and bring it inside. Hannah is reading Stone Fox and Shakespeare right now, an odd combo I know. Grace made her IT essay into a webpage, very basic, but she was putting in the CSS codes for the font, size, colors and tags for paragraph, title, citations. She didn’t want to do it, but after she got all the code in there she spent a few minutes changing the colors and font sizes back and forth. She somehow ended up with an extra .html on the end of one of her previous files and we can’t seem to get it off, might have to go redo it. After lunch we went over to the library to meet up with 3 other families from our HS group to make cards for kids in the hospital.

I said it wasn’t a race and there was no quota, but A made 26 little cards just by himself. I think we ended up with over 50, I didn’t count, but it is a lot of Valentine cards (more were added to the table after I took the pic.)

Also I wore my awesome moustache socks because red and green should not just be for Christmas.

Tomorrow I was planning a hike, but I think we’ll just do school and stay in. I have some books to read, stuff to do and a craft to figure out.

The Manhattan project


This morning we did school, Bethany worked on an English paper, did anatomy and medical terminology (the tests are still very long at 75 questions, but the rest of the work is more manageable now) and wrote about censorship and ethics for journalism. Hannah went down her list for math (using variable to solve equations), literature (reading From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler), history, spelling, grammar, vocabulary and writing. Grace took a test in IT, a test in English, did a section on polynomials in math (because her unit test is locked until Thursday, so she just went into the next chapter), took an earth science test and a government test…not sure why she landed on so many tests today.

After lunch we went to the library for a lecture on The Manhattan Project by a man who worked at the Oak Ridge lab for the project.

The library was so full that we had to sit in the lobby, we could hear him, but only Grace and Bethany could see the slides (so I was bringing up images on my phone while he was talking about certain things for Hannah to see.)

The girls were disappointed because they thought he was going to talk more about his role, he spent very little time on that and instead gave an overview of the project, details about the bombs, who was involved, why we did it and the current state of nuclear arms. When we got home I found this site that has transcripts of interviews done in the 80’s with him, so if you want to know his background and what he did go read it (he talks about a lot of things, not just the project, it’s funny how he brags on his kids.) We used this site and also this one to find out more information about the Manhattan Project. None of the girls are studying this right now, but when it comes up (again for some of them) they can put his talk and the information into use. Bethany could use it for journalism (ethics), Grace is working on government so she could use the information to look at how the government goes about working on projects during war and of course the decision to drop nuclear bombs on people. Hannah is way back in the beginning of US history right now, but WWII will come soon enough. Things that you go to don’t have to be related to what you are studying at this moment, it’s always good to have random things tucked away in your head for later.

Also, I don’t know where I saw this, but we love MOOC’s and this site – edX – has lots of cool courses coming up and lots of archived ones. You can use them to supplement school, do unit studies with them or take them for credit (some courses offer certificates upon completion for an extra cost, some come with certs at no cost if you pass the class.) For the archived classes you can’t get in on discussions or get a cert (of course), but they are still useful (and if you wanted to count that time for homeschooling, just keep track of the grades and time spent and log it that way.) I’m taking an archived class right now – Effective thinking through mathematics – which is not as scary as it sounds! It’s just using puzzles to create an out of the box thinking method for solving problems, not just math ones.

The week is pretty slow, nothing but school for Tues and Wed, then we have a hike, cake decorating at the MCA Fri night and nothing yet for the weekend, but I might find something to do.

Fun Friday {HS skate}


The word must not be out, there were only about 20 kids or so at the skating rink….I hope it stays that way. The girls got their 2 hours of PE in and I got 2 hours of chat time in – win/win. Here are some thing Grace and Bethany did for school this week –

Geography presentation here.

Poetry presentation here.

Health brochure about domestic violence here.

CPR brochure for health here.

Bethany had a teen event at the library, she was dressed in full Link costume.

They played games, live-action role played, solved riddles and fought mafia chickens (I guess you need to know about Legend of Zelda to understand that.) We found out that Joel will be going straight to the airport from graduation, so we are leaving a day earlier now to have a day to visit with him. Otherwise we’d see him at graduation and then have to drop him at the airport right after it. He is probably not coming home, in fact I guess the flight means that he is going straight to Ft. Drum. I doubt he will be home for Christmas – but it might happen since that is within the 3 month window before deployment. Major life changes are about to happen….

Tomorrow is Constitution day, some school celebrated it today (since tomorrow isn’t a ‘school’ day.) Here are two links to some ways to celebrate, it doesn’t have to be Constitution day to study the Constitution!

One here and One here.