09 10

30 June 2007

Photo Hunt: Sweet

Theme: Sweet

Looking at Light Bulbs

After doing some reading about fluorescent bulbs, it turns out they are full of mercury & you'd just better not break them, so Andy and I took at look at LED bulbs.

We looked at this LED bulb, which according to the lumens rating, is approximately the same brightness as a regular 60-watt bulb. It costs $67.95. My first thought was "There is no way that's going to be competitive, call back in a few years." Then we started doing some math.

The LED bulb lasts for 30,000 hours. The 60-watt incandescent lasts for 1,000 hours. So you need 30 blubs to last the same amount of time as just 1 of the LED bulbs. That's $56.18 right there ($1.83 per bulb was the price we found online), just to get the same amount of hours from your bulbs. Not sounding so outrageous anymore.

Then we did the math for what the electricity would cost. The incandescent bulbs will cost 179.79 at our current electric rate. The LED bulb would cost 96.41 for the same amount of time. I can think of a few things to do with an extra $80 or so, per bulb in my house!

Clearly, the LED is cheaper to have. It's just gonna hurt more up front.

PS. Andy, after doing some more looking around says that:
1. GE says the mercury's not dangerous, and
2. LEDs use less electricity than fluorescent.

28 June 2007

Another Busy Day

Wow! I am amazed at how quickly the week has sped by! We're not doing too badly though, in terms of accmplishing the school stuff. It's not a perfect track record, but it's not terrible either.

*We read some from Treasure Island. However, as the story progresses I'm less and less comfortable with it. I'm just not ready for telling my infant about murdering pirates and such, even if I myself an very hooked on the story. It makes me want to learn more about nautical stuff. So I think we'll be picking a new read-aloud book. I'm thinking about finding another copy of Island of the Blue Dolphins. I don't remember anything objectionable in that one.

*We colored with crayons again. This time it was thank you notes for some hand-me-down clothes and toys Monkey was given. I think the footprint art is canciled until I can get my hands on a drop cloth: the one I thought I had has been nailed to the garage wall as a vapor barrier. So no painting for us.

*Although I don't believe we have listened to Rhondo Alla Turka even once yet, we did listen to a lullabye collection CD full of very nice classical music as well as listening to public radio several times. One song they played the other day was a cool piano-oboe duet I wish I'd remembered the name of.

*We've read a bunch of his board books. I know we hit "How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten" and "Are You My Mother," but I'd be hard-pressed to tell you which others. Ah, yes, we also did "Baby Animals of the Grasslands," a new book that Grandma bought from her Bookman at school. Also, the Monkey enjoys spending time "reading" his books by himself. And he's getting to where he eats his books so seldom that I feel pretty comfortable letting him pull out his books & look at them.

*We finished off 3 Nefi 11, and I've been naming the parts of the face in Spanish. I've gotta look up the lips (AGAIN!) and chin so I can name those too.

25 June 2007

Today in School: Monday

I figure that I'll put up posts of what we do for some (but likely not all) of the days we do school. I did one of these "reporting" posts for last week, and we did some reading on a couple of the days that I didn't post.

Today we read a little more than a chapter of "Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson. It's a fun book so far, and one I expect that the Monkey will enjoy more later on. I find that I've gotten rusty on reading out loud, and the language is a little bit old and unfamiliar, so it's good practice for me to read it to him, not to mention that it's good for the Monkey to be exposed to lovely language.

I did some heavier cleaning this morning: moved the couches and vacuumed under them (been reading FLYlady again, this week's zone is the living room) and I put the Monkey in his exersaucer and he watched with REALLY BIG eyes while I moved the two couches and got rid of the junk under them. How does so much dirt get under something that doesn't move?

We also worked on some gross motor movement. Which is fancy language for we played on his new toy a little bit. That was a fun part of the day. He's starting to get the hang of crawling and pulling up on the new climbing toy. I lured him up with something he wanted: my new measuring spoons. Because spoons are fascinating and wonderful. Crawling has been a bit of a challenge: who needs to crawl when you can scoot, roll, and wallow? But I think he's getting it now, and can finally move forward. Forward is Good.

21 June 2007

Today in School

Today we did some drawing with crayons. I drew shapes, he examined the crayons & occasionally made a mark. Whenever he'd try to eat one I helped him scribble a few circles. It went pretty well.

We did a little reading: Eric Carle's "Have You Seen My Cat" and "My Little Book of Jungle Animals." Also, Monkey's board books are on a low shelf & he enjoys pulling them all off, which he did several times today.

Also, we explored how to play a piano. He really enjoyed that. And his banging was actually kinda nice. He was hitting a lot of black keys & it all seemed to work pretty well. He would bang high, then low. I was most entertained. After he was done "playing" I practiced myself, so it was good for us both. For once I was actually happy with my improvising!

BBB: Lesson 6

We took a week off, and now we're ready to go again with another 2 weeks of school.

Week 1: selections from Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Week 2: Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Week 1: Enoch
Week 2: Noah

Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi

Classical Music:
Rhondo Alla Turka

Silly Spot (find the sticker)


the rest of 3 Nephi 11

Pimselur lesson 1

footprint art

20 June 2007

Wetlands Exploration

Today we visited a local wetlands preserve. Monkey got to take a look at a couple of sturgeon, some snakes, and turtles they had in aquariums in the nature center. Then we went on a walk through the preserve. Mom & King Chumley (Monkey's uncle) were bird watching. We saw and heard a lot of birds: Red-wing Blackbirds a Blue Jay Grackles American Cardinals American Robins a Goldfinch a House Finch a White-breasted Nuthatch Tree Swallows
American Robin

White-breasted Nuthatch
There were many more that we heard & couldn't identify by sound, as neither Mom nor King Chumley are very experienced bird watchers. We also saw a lot of other creatures. There were tons of dragonflies zipping all around the place. There were quite a few bees (Mom was not hysterical about them either!) and other bugs. And we saw several squirrels- especially by the bird feeders. We saw a beaver under the feeders. Here is a picture. And if you are not bothered by motion sickness, you could watch the video: but King Chumley didn't know he was shooting it and it bounces around a LOT. (Video is a new feature that Blogger says is "almost" ready, so hopefully it works.)

14 June 2007

Juggling Day

Well, I've been practicing, but not as much as I'd hoped to do, is the movie I'd hoped to make of learning to juggle is still very much a work in progress. Yesterday was Juggling Day and I'm still not ready. But it's a project that has captured my sense of the ridiculous, and so I will press on! And one of these days I'll have something to post.

10 June 2007

Preschool skills

Looking at skill lists for various preschool ages.

Here's one for ages 2, 3 & 4 from Michele Lewis at Abecedarian Academy.

This one, from Francis P. Glascoe is not geared for homeschooling, but it's got some good ideas on it, including some fun ideas for what to do with the works of art generated by small children.

Kelly K. posted this list, based on Charlotte Mason's recommendations:

A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six
1. To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns
2. To recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm
3. To add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters
4. To read--what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child
5. To copy in print-hand from a book.
6. To know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows
7. To describe the boundaries of their own home
8. To describe any lake, river, pond, island etc. within easy reach
9. To tell quite accurately (however shortly) 3 stories from Scriptural history, 3 from early American, and 3 from early world history
10. To be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views
11. To mount in a scrap book a dozen common wildflowers, with leaves (one every week); to name these, describe them in their own words, and say where they found them
12. To do the same with leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees
13. To know 6 birds by song, color and shape
14. To send in certain Kindergarten or other handiwork, as directed
15. To tell 3 stories about themselves and 3 about their immediate family and/or a pet.
16. To name 20 common objects in Spanish, and say a dozen little sentences
17. To sing one hymn, one Spanish song, and one English song
18. To keep a caterpillar and tell the life-story of a butterfly from his own observations
My revision from a CM school curriculum outline in the 1890's.

Photo Hunt: Shoes

06 June 2007

Patrick Henry

Come to find out, today is the anniversary of Patrick Henry's death. I'm familiar with his famous "Give me liberty or give me death!" quote, but I'm a little surprised to learn how little I know about this American Hero. For instance, I always thought that this quote was given at his execution. Looks like I was seriously mistaken. A little light reading here straightened me out, along with providing a very nice recording of a re-enactment of Mr. Henry's speech. That was very cool - and no wonder I've never seen it before, in spite of studying a good number of "documents" in my AP US History class. It's completely anti-gun-control. And his arguments against the British removing the people's guns are just as good when applied to why the current US government should not be allowed to take away our guns.

I can't seem to find a way to make a "permalink," so I'll repost this, which I recently saw on the Badger Blog Alliance:


1. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.

2. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.

3 Colt: The original point and click interface.

4. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.

5. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?

6. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.

7. "Free" men do not ask permission to bear arms.

8. If you don't know your rights you don't have any.

9. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.

10. The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights reserved.

11. What part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?

12. The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the others.

13. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.

14. Guns only have two enemies: rust and politicians.

15. Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety.

16. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.

17. 911 - government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.

18. Assault is a behavior, not a device.

19. Criminals love gun control -- it makes their jobs safer.

20. If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson.

21. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control them.

22. You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.

23. Enforce the "gun control laws" we ALREADY have, don't make more.

24. When you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create slaves.

25. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.

26. "A government of the people, by the people, for the people..."

It's a bit rough around the edges compared to his speech, but I think Mr. Henry would have approved.

04 June 2007

Time to Juggle

Perhaps it's time to get out my juggling bags and try again - a little more seriously this time - to learn to juggle. After all, National Juggling Day is coming right up here! It's one of several silly "holidays" on the Funday Calendar at about.com. There are even links to learn how.

03 June 2007

Motherhood as a Sonnet

Some people see such commitment as a restriction. I prefer to think of it as a form, like as sonnet is a form for poetry. When you write a poem, you can do it any way you like, of course, but if you choose to make it a sonnet you have automatically imposed upon yourself a certain rhyme scheme and a rhythmic pattern. Step outside the form, and you will not have a sonnet.

Given that restriction, why would anyone choose to write a sonnet in preference to, say, a poem in free verse? The beauty of it is that when you are working within the set parameters of the sonnet form, you have to choose your words more carefully. You have to be more economic and selective with your syllables. Every word settles into a certain, inevitable spot, and when that spot is right, the poem is almost alive. The joy of writing a sonnet that really works is well worth the effort it takes to do so.

When you choose mothering, you've chosen a form for your life. You have instantly imposed upon yourself a certain level of responsibility. You will have to choose more carefully where to put your resources, particularly your time and energy and probably your money as well. but as those elements settle into spots that seem right, your family comes to life and there is joy in it.
-Emily Watts, Being the Mom: Ten coping strategies I learned by accident because I had children on purpose, page 123-124

I liked this. Then I went out and looked up the rules of sonnets so I could write a poem about Mothering. Sonnets are tricky. It's not something that I'm going to be able to do in an evening, sort of "real quick." I looked up and re-learned what is iambic pentameter. I'm certain I knew that once before, but I couldn't remember how it went. And then I started. Only the rhyming scheme was getting in my way. Anyway, I didn't get the sonnet written. But the more I looked at the sonnet structure, the more what she was saying made sense. And the more I liked it.


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