"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Whale Evolution 1

Whale Evolution 2

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thrift Store Story (2)

The Thrift Store here has a new Book stocker and I really like her. She
loves books and it shows and she is also a homeschool mom. She is the
first to work there to really listen to my suggestions. Unfortunately she is
NOT management. I think the management gets their skills from Dilbert
books. They have proper sections for every type book (just as a regular
book store would have) and the "romance" section always has 2 to 3 empty
shelves. Well, I suggested that she move the way overstocked fiction section
down to those shelves and expand the non-fiction "education" section - which
in this heavy "homeschool" area always is a popular section. She took it to
Management for approval and at first I thought they were going to go for
it. Until THE manager heard of it. NO - he managed to get the other 2 Thrift
stores in town to send their Harlequin Romance novels on over to our store
to fill our shelves. So the shelves are filled now.

Then a few days later she reports she had a 2 carts full of educational books
and no where to put them. The management told them to throw them away.
When she protested she was told to get over it, "They are JUST education books".
Yep we live in Alabama.

And people wonder why we Homeschool. I've thought of taking up Dumpster Diving
but I've been told they REALLY frown on that.

I'm just praying they keep this stocker. I'm SO tired of driving to Midfield where
they really stock the good books (for some reason).


Sunday, November 25, 2007

IRON BOWL 2007 - 6 in a Row



Darcy has on the new dress my mom (Nonny - her great grandmother) got her
for her birthday and I wanted Nonny to see it. She is pretty in it!

She sat on grandma's walker, which was just the right height, for Thanksgiving
Day. And her favorite food was the fruit salad and when she discovered
the cherries she hopped down and went around to everyone asking, "Are you
going to eat your cherries?" and of course they WEREN'T as they were going
to give them to Darcy to eat. It was so much fun because Amy used to do the
same thing. In fact Amy helped me make the fruit salad and her first question
was, "You did buy cherries didn't you?"

More Thanksgiving photos

Grandma has Jeremiah in her lap (for a few moments anyway).
Michael is TRYING to read (he is learning about children and they LOVE
their Uncle Michael Michael).
Jacob now brings me "ooks" to read. Well, he kind of throws the book at
me and says, "OOK" and I get the hint. I pick him up and read the book.
Jeremiah will usually wander over and listen too. He did this time as

Now the most poignant photo is Amy. She is wearing my dad's old shirt.
He has lost SO much weight due to his go round with cancer of the esophagus
and he's been giving away his old clothes. Duane got his suits (and they
are very nice!). Matthew had his Mexican wedding shirts. They were laying
on the fireplace and Amy had picked one up and put it on. I had to take
the photo. I think she has claimed the shirts...

And the photo of Matthew (I didn't take this one). He and Nicole are
putting pjs on the twins. The twins are rather um, squirmy so this looks
more like a wrestling contest than a clothes change. I think whichever twin
this is, well - he seems to be enjoying it.

smiles, Chris

Thanksgiving 2007

Darcy, Jeremiah (top), Jacob (bottom)
We started frying the turkey last year and it was SO good.
I made the guys watch the Alton Brown video for safety. I thought
we had it down pat. And then it started raining this year. So
the men rigged a tarp. Right next to the house. I prayed a bit
harder this year but there were no mishaps and the men did faithfully
stand guard over the cooking turkey WITH my fire extinguisher nearby.
(on the steps if you look at the photo.). This was the best tasting
turkey yet. Okay, Michael is NOT watching the turkey. He appears to
be doing Suduko puzzles.
More coming...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Family at Darcy's Party

Almost the entire family, both sides, gathered to celebrate Darcy's turning
three. My mother is standing with Uncle Michael Michael (who gave Darcy her
very own Flag!). Amy and my dad are in serious conversation - I couldn't resist
this photo! Later I found Heather and Amy seriously reading "The Lonely Firefly"
by Eric Carle that I had given Darcy. I think they are reading a bit too much into the story...
Granny Jean is trying to hold a squirmy Darcy for photos. Granny Jean is of undetermined age but is Darcy's great-grandmother and speaks little English (she is
Japanese). Her grandfather (Papa George) is seen holding the newest member of the family, baby Cody. (I didn't take this artistic photo - I suspect Amy did).
Oh and Heather is holding a tea party with the new tea set for Darcy and her friends - they really got into this pretending business. The twins were content to play with the balloons. I'll have to post photos of them later.

Darcy is THREE

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Plastic Rock (Physical Science)

Top - What is this?
Next- The girls get into it!
Third down - Hey, this works!
and last - the aftermath...that I had to clean up

Add water to cornstarch slowly until you get the right consistency.
It will be solid when you pick it up and roll it around but as soon
as you quit rolling it turns liquid and starts dripping downward.
The Earth acts this way underneath the mantle after an earthquake
in some places.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A November Brunch

I have been going to the lunches, brunches or whatever in what ever city
I'm in for over 25 years now. I've never won a door prize. For the past
five years I've been taking my mother in law with me as she lives with me
now. So far she's won 3 times. She won again this month. Our Special
Feature (our drawing card) was flower arranging by a local florist and
he was very good. He did this arrangement first and then did two more.
It is all live plants so it won't last until Thanksgiving but I'm in hopes
Amy will be able to replace it with lovely new ones for our centerpiece.

The focus of our monthly meetings each month is a presentation of a
testimony which will include a clear presentation of the gospel.
I had heard this month's speaker several times over the years and she
is very good. The first time I heard Maureen was the most memorable
and she remembered it as well.

I'll go back a few years - about 17. Matthew was about 10. My next door
neighbor was a new Christian, having come to Christ at a brunch only a
few months previously. She had a young (about 18 month old) little girl
who had mild birth defects. I was Chairman of the Club the morning of
the brunch that morning that summer and they were going to ride with us.
Our nursery was going to be full with her little girl and my 3 kids.
I was about ready to go and I sent Matthew, my oldest, over to get her.
He came running back and said, "Mama, something is really wrong over there!".
I went out to see and fire trucks were in front of the house. I immediately
went over to see what was wrong. Her baby - her beautiful little girl -
was dead in the bed that morning. They ruled it a SIDS death. It was
devestating. We never made it to the brunch that day. I called a woman
I knew who had lost two sons to cystic fibrosis and she came much to my
relief. She was of great help. It was one of the hardest funerals I've
ever attended.

The next month my neighbor came to the brunch. Maureen was the speaker.
Maureen, unknown to us who had not yet heard her speak, had had a SIDS
baby. When she got to that part of her story my dear neighbor friend got
up and ran out of the brunch. I was so hurt and cried. I didn't know what
to do. It turned out she didn't leave. She stood in the doorway and listened
to the rest of Maureen's very hard but wonderful story of God's grace and
mercy. Maureen spent the rest of the afternoon ministering to my friend.
Many tears were shed and words spoken. I know my friend was able to be honest
in her feeling of rage against God and Maureen was able to tell her that those
feelings were entirely normal. I know that helped. I wasn't able to listen
to it all (nor should I have!).

Well, now here we were 17 years later and Maureen actually remembered me.
She asked and I was able to tell her that my neighbor no longer lives next
door. She's remarried (a death like that is rough on a marriage) but she
now has 4 children. Maureen left with a big smile. I think I made her day.

God is good. All the time. I hope her story touched many at the bruch this
week. Maureen has cancer now and is taking chemotherapy. If you think of
her, say a prayer.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ammonium Dichromate Volcano

We're doing the unit on the Earth in Physical Science so I always
have to do my Ammonium Dichromate "volcano" when we get to this unit.
We go outside these days as I've been banished from doing anything with
fire inside the building (something about the fire alarms going off
one too many times.). Just as well as this one does smell a bit.
(Really better to do this one in a well ventilated area!).

You can get Ammonium Dichromate from HomeTrainingTools.com

I just used an ethyl alcohol (LONG) soaked paper towel as a fuse.
I used to use a Magnesium strip as many sites do as a fuse (it is
very spectacular) but may be burning my eyeballs out so I've stopped
doing that. (It is extremely bright. Magnesium is used in sparklers.)
You do have to use something that will get very hot. A Bunsen
burner will also work if you happen to have one laying around.


Go to above link to watch this on a video. It's really neat.
The pile starts out fairly small and just keeps growing and growing (sort
of like a volcano.)
The stuff that is left is extremely powdery and I have to threaten
the students NOT to blow on it as I don't want to have to clean it up.

Ammonium Dichromate is ORANGE btw. You can see a bit of it in the first
picture. I should have taken a before photo so you could see!
It ends up green powder.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Camera Obscura

My 6th Grade class is continuing with the series on inventors.
We started on a few weeks that we'll be doing on photography and
cameras today. And the FIRST camera was a "camera obscura" - Aristotle
knew of this and da Vinci used it. The first practical use was by an
Iraqi scientist long ago (I've didn't write his name down)


One good link to more information.

To MAKE a camera obsura as I did above....get a large box (one you can
get your head inside with a lot of room to spare!). Tape a WHITE piece
of paper at one end (you'll be LOOKING at that piece of paper inside the
box). Tape the box up all around very, very well (I used duct tape) - you
want NO light coming in. Dark is good. Then cut a square large enough
to allow you to get your head in one end. At the end in which you put your
head - at the top, outside, you want a small hole - the size of a pencil maybe.
This will eventually be the only light you will have in the box.

Okay, outside, in the SUNSHINE (you will need a bright sunny day), put
your head in the box. Look at the paper. You may need someone to wrap
a towel or a sweater or something around your neck (see the smaller kids
photos) to block out ALL light even around the head area). You should
then see on the white paper images of what is behind you - they will be
reversed and upside down but it's weird and fun to see.

The kids all enjoyed it once they got over the idea of walking around with
a box on their heads.

Oh, and pranksters covering the hole with their fingers, well, it just makes
it VERY dark in the box!


Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween 2007

Darcy, of course, wanted to eat all the candy she could see.
I told her if she ate too much the "party in her tummy" would turn
into an upset tummy and she would get sick. Later she came up to
me as I sat by the door with the bowl of candy to hand out to trick
or treaters and tried to get more candy. I held it out of reach and
told her she had enough candy. She asked why I had the candy and I
told her I was giving the candy to people who came to the door.
She looked at me very seriously and asked, "You making them sick??"
I can't win..

Thursday, November 01, 2007

October 31st in Science Part 3

Every year, when I get to Module 5 in Exploring Creation with Physical Science by Dr. Jay Wile, as an outside activity I have the students bring in a jar of water from a local body of water - a pond, creek, lake, etc. We test for water pollution. Most of Birmingham's water is very good. Nearby my house is a small
pond though that seems to stay polluted so I always stop and get a jar of
water myself so we'll have at least one jar of "bad" water. (This really
speaks well of Birmingham area water!). Wednesday morning on the way to
class I stopped. The bird seemed to be frozen in place - he was watching for
a fish breakfast. I had to get a photo. I got the close up - then the spread
of the pond around and you see how "man" has so little thought of his
environment. It's a shame!
And the water was nasty.