We Are Deep In the Heart of Texas

Nomadic seasons of farming adventures with nature thrown in to include; a pinch of family, snippets of friends, counting our blessings, paying IT forward, home school, and the spicy things I decide to rant about.







Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today's Experiment: Drying Beef

Today's main lessons were on the science of perserving food, the history surrounding preservation of food, and the social impact if there was a time of crisis say drought, famine, or war.  For our classroom experiment; we used top sirlon steak sliced milanese thin, I sliced into uniform strips, the boys made a marinade , mix meat and marinade, let mixture rest, and then put into the dehydrator.

We also covered other preservation methods like: fermination canning, freezing, dehydrating, sun drying, and vacuum sealing.  Next, we make powdered egg from already scrambled and then reverse the process.  It's really simple an easy enough for a child to do almost himself. NOTE:  MOM will scramble the eggs before hand for safety reasons.
Our almost finished product inside the Nesco.


Day 9 of our seed growth. We have progress. I am guessing cilantro but, time will tell.

Let's see today we covered: Phantom Tollbooth at story time, Addition, Averaging, Measurements, Science, History, Social Issues and had some Physical Education earlier.  All this happened within three hours of actual learning time and it was not a pressured day. Now, everyone is milling about before I take one of them with me to start making dinner for Dad.  It is such a beautiful day in our slice of heaven! 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Sis (Grannie)!

I just wanted to welcome new follower MYLASMOM for she is my own niece Samantha.  She had her first child on August the 2nd weighing in at a whooping 7 lbs; meet Mylas Rose. Tammy my younger sister is in the blue shirt, it's her birthday today.  She was upset because she has not received a Happy Birthday wish from the person she most admires. So I am wishing her one here along with welcoming Mylas Rose.
My pretty little red-headed sweetie is now a Mommie.
Mylas Rose remember butterflies are always free.
Happy 42nd Birthday Tambo you made grannie before I did.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ready For My Closeup

"DO YOU LOVE ME" Mrs. Loosey sings for her back scratching.
Sorry to report the pineapple's demise either bunny, chicken, opposum, or raccoon helped themself. It's all good though, I found a wonderful website I am going to share with you now.
Day 5: Nothing showing yet on Saenz's seeds. Zephyr's egg carton green house was knocked over by the wind so, we will be replanting after I picked up more pineapples from town.
 
STAMPEDE!!!!!!!!!
Does this pole make my butt look fat?
"GOT SNACKS," asks Gabby?
Our gangly teenaged gang of keats.
Will grow up to look like this cranky chicken chaser.


School progress, the boys are loving the Phantom Tollbooth personally, I believe Saenz identifies with the main character Milo.  If you haven't read the book, it's one I highly recommend for children to build vocabulary or teach other life lessons.

This site will be where I will pick up some more dissection kits from Home Science Tools for our classroom after the last order comes in from Home 4 School Gear.  The boys have been nagging me to do more fun biology experiments so, I am going to follow up on their interests.  Besides, it is easy to build other lessons around a science themed curriculum in other areas of study such as: grammar, math, spelling and writing to keep their desire to learn high.

I will see ya'll later after storytime.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Seeds, Saplings to Parent Plant Starter

Our Thanks to Ms. Melodie over at Laughing Duck Farm for showing us how to 'start' a pineapple plant from a parent plant.  If you are interested you can simply go to my last post entry to see the 12 page PDF I am using to tailor our biology lessons. We learned to take the leaves off in a circular motion; once done the 'top' looks like a rose bloom reversed.
Our first week of school has been covering the following subjects:

Kindergartner Zephyr
Primary writing, owl pellet dissection, safety procedures in science, 'AT' rhyming word recognition, addition and subtraction, Pledge of Allegiance, clean up, plant biology, aerobics, reading, listening skills, and coloring.

6th Grader Saenz

Hand writing, math review of multiplication tables, division, averaging, geometric shapes, plant biology, Microsoft WORD use and tools, owl pellet dissection, safety procedures in science, aerobic exercise, reading, listening skills and drawing.

How we move our classroom outside:
Seed progression (none yet)
The Phantom of the Tollbooth will become our classrooms' Story Time book until we finish it.  NOPE, we will not be breaking for TAKS or TEKS. 
I will post later about parents suing school districts for 'searching' a students phones or social media sites for evidence of bullying. What do you all think?
Here are some really interesting reads:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Some Cool Homeschool Info

This is the weblink I found with an excellent PDF on Plant Reproduction.   This one particular PDF file is perfect for my classroom since, I can cut it down into several lessons appropriate to a 6th grader and Kindergartner.  When Ms. Sharon discussed not really understanding the process for 'cuttings' off her muscadine vines, I went searching so we could later do this in the classroom. 

Otherwise, I would like to welcome new follower Jana C, she has a blog I have been reading about her homeschooling process at Homeschooling a Texas Tornado.  The reason I stopped on her blog to begin with is her title.  We have called Saenz the Texas Tornado (Dedo) since birth.  As a matter of fact we call Zephyr the Maryland Mauler (Cubby). LOL 

I personally know of no hispanic child without a family pet name. Which sounds like an interesting study for cultural differences or similiarities. :O)

I have more sites I will add later.  We are trudging through a lesson  on 'averaging and percents.' I just love review. Enjoy, our lunch break is over.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why Planting On Our First Day

IT'S 103 current temp no joke -- not counting heat index. 

So our afternoon lessons was a quick one.  We talked about how the sun aids in the growth of living organisms.  We made a 'green house' with an old egg carton for Zephyr's lesson.  Easy to maintain, the paper towel allows for watering without dislodging the seeds.  Saenz used some paper cups and planted the same seeds but, did not label his cups well.  Again, Lisa helps out...

We planted the first day of school so we could take care of something daily.  Also, it's a perfect way to gauge how far we have come.  Those mini key lime bushes will have to be replanted soon.  I planned to keep replants moving up  in container size with each break in our school year.
Another way of telling the passage of time (seasons) and the repetition needed in some aspects of teaching since my lessons are built upon like a foundation.

And if you don't hear from us tomorrow.  We have officially melted into puddles and please send ice cream for revival purposes! LOL

First Day of School! Outdoor Classroom


This is our first day of school, after breakfast we went under the carport to have school instead of like regular kids.  A change of environment helps add a little excitement to our day.  Lisa was my teacher's aide.

We started the day after everyone dressed and had breakfast together.  We then gathered all the items we needed to take our classroom outside.  Thanks Dad for setting the table outside yesterday.
Our first day was spent dissecting an owl pellet.  We learned owls spit out the pellets instead of 'pooping' them out. 
We put on our safety gear.
Saenz really got a kick out of digging around in the pellet after soaking it in a bowl of water to soften it for easier removal.
We need to find Zephyr size googles and gloves for our next experiment.
.
Rodent skull in mom's hand. We found four complete skulls, rib bones, 2 spines, lots of various unidentified bones. (We saved those for another day.) Then as things were getting interesting and the temperature was rising two of our goats made a great escape.  So we used the Music Bells, Grumpy Gramps sent us to herd them back in the pen. 
 
Then we came back inside for lunch, Saenz had a headache and took a nap. Later when it cools off we are planting tomato, chives, cilantro, lettuce, muscadine from seed.  Plus we are going to try Melodie's planting of a pineapple top to see if we can get a tree going.  Not a bad first day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nothing Is Better Than This!

I love when Saenz and Zephyr are rough housing.  Sure there have been accidents or someone gets hurt, tears, or harsh words.  But, the giggles and bonding when they play is flipping priceless.  Takes me back to when I was a child growing up as a latch key kid in Southren California with my sister.

Things I will miss when they are men:

The feel of arms clinging around my body
The smell after they have played outside
Footprints on a fresh mopped floor
Handprints on clean walls
Unwrapping gifts, tastes of unfamiliar foods
Caring for animals
Fresh tears, snotty noses, first crushes
Crayon scribbles in surprising places
Them nursing as infants, wrapped tight, warm against me
The sound of my name called 1 million times a day
The Ahh Haa moment when I have taught them something new
The jokes, celebrations, the firsts,
Scrapped knees and magic kisses
Hugs for no reason
The sweetness of their faces as they sleep
The trust it takes for them to: dream in my arms, sharing imaginary friends, come to me with questions, quiet their nightmares

Some things will never change:

The fear of them getting hurt, sick, wounded or not coming back
The uncertainity of them going out into the world


I could write a million more reasons why being their mom has meant more than anything else because, I grow everyday as they change. I just wanted to thank God, my husband and my boys for allowing me into their lives and blessing me with such love.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grantham Assignment for Wk 6 with Dr. Morvey

I am just using my blog to answer a 'professional discussion' assignment.  In this course, we have been learning about how Killer Apps have changed the world.  The historical aspects can go back to simpler times with the invention of horseshoes later the electric bulb to modern online banking.  First our society moved from industrial gains to a more technological industry which brought changes to world with digital improvements in our daily lives.

The two books we have used for our classroom are:

Unleashing the Killer App: Digital Strategies For Market Dominance.  Larry Downes and Chunka Mui. Harvard Business School Press, 2000.
Emerging Information Techologies: Improving Decisions, Cooperation and Infrastructure.  Kenneth Kenall. Sage Publications, 1999.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sometimes There Is Only Beauty

I truly love my 'station' in life and don't feel the need to ask for more.  I have never really dreamed of winning the lottery because I feel I have already won.  My marriage is pretty solid and I can not fanthom being with another man because he is not replacable so; I won the marriage lottery.  I have the home I basically wanted simple, large enough to grow a family and worthy to pass on to our children; I won the housing lottery.  I had the career I dreamed of because I was able to support myself before marriage, grow my own integrity, travel overseas, job security, training, healthcare, and education -- I won the lottery there.  I can not imagine a more fulfilling life because I love where I am at, with those I love, in the place I worked for since graduating high school. 

The most important aspect of my life now is being wife and mother.  I enjoy all that entails even when I get pissed off over things not going my way.  I must say Thank You a millions times a day and do not feel its enough to repay all I have been given.  In the evenings, I just look around to see.................
Sometimes There is Only Beauty

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Got Paid - Happy Dance!

Do ya'll remember my billions of phone calls back in April for a rebate towards the purchase of a new washing machine?  Whelppers, my hard work at hitting redial and back arrows finally paid off because I found this in the mail box today.  Enjoy the silliness of my working so hard to earn a little cash by reading here Texas Powerful Smart.

Bawk Bakkkkkkkkkkka Baaaaaaaak

Sunday, August 15, 2010

YOUNG LOVE, FIRST LOVE

Meet Jennifer, Zephyr's first crush. Personally, I think she is beautiful.  He says he is going to marry her -- when he grows up. We love Jennifer and have to take him to see her at Super S in Three Rivers.  He has already asked her to attend his next birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. 

On the weekends, I like to make a stew or dish in the crock pot for Monday dinners. This is a three meat variety with beef, tripe, and salt pork.  Tonight I will add more vegetables, along with any seasoning it will require from the broth I will make a roux with some flour for thickening.  Then tomorrow it will be served piping hot to my hubby for dinner.  Anything not consumed will be put into the deep freezer in one meal serving packets for easy thawing.

Do you want to know what my definition of chivalry?

Simple:   it's when your husband does things to enhance your life without asking because, he knows your weakness, flaws, or limitations.  I can not handle raw potato thus he cleans and preps the tubers for my recipes.  This really melts my butter!

Hope Ya'll are having a super weekend even though, this heat is oppressive.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What Sites Are Considered Sacred Ground in the Islamic Faith

The Holy Mosque, Meccah as well as the Prophet's Mosque is found in Saudi Arabia to include Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.  I watched some of our President's speech on why a mosque should be allowed to be placed on private property near Ground Zero.

I have no problem with all faiths having their place to practice their religion. The freedom of religion is right guaranteed to all here in America.  (Last time I checked Ground Zero is in America.)

More musings:

Why doesn't Saudi Arabia allow the Christian, Jewish, Buddhists, or other faiths to build in Saudi --  say two blocks from those sacred or hallowed sites?  

The answer is simple; Saudi Arabia does not have freedom of religion nor speech. As a matter of fact, proselytizing by non-Muslims is illegal in Saudi Arabia and to convert a Muslim means the death penalty.  Anyone who is in Saudi Arabia is subject to Sharia Law no matter their faith. 

NO WHERE is the ideal / practice of 'freedom of religion' more scared or hallowed than America.

Now onto the Mosque at Ground Zero.  I do understand the need to label that area Holy Ground because the lives (NOT ALL were Christians) taken there were from a hostile act to illicit a response from; the American Government, to cripple the US's financial trading center and instill fear, hatred, and loathing in an attempt to  destroy our way of life.  

I also know of the ominous feeling one feels when visiting Ground Zero much like walking the rows at Arlington National Cementary or touching the Vietnam Wall because, I have been to these places and felt the power of my own connection to those who died.

Did you know there are at least five Muslims buried at Arlington? 

I wonder why not just a intra-faith worship center that is maintained as a State park or some sort of place of worship? Let's not separate our religions but learn from each other.

The United States Military has figured out a way to respect its personnels choice of faith.
http://www.muslimmilitarymembers.org/article.php?story=20080725083515260

I guess for me; my belief is all people should have the right to practice their religion in America. Freedom of Speech and Religion are my hallowed idealistic ground  -- Just thinking out loud.

The Great Mousekapades of 2010

First let me begin by saying Happy 27th Birthday to our oldest, Junio.  Hope you fulfill all your dreams in the next 27.

Saenz was right about the number of mice that he had seen playing about the baseboards.  We must have secured all the pathways into the house and effectively trapped them in the house with us. We just made sure no food or water was available and then those hungry buggers came out in force. Last night, within 20 mins after the sun had went down and chicken chores were complete. 

SNAP!!!!

The first trapped snapped on a mouse.  Now, I know if you look at the bellies: rats have six paired nipples whereas mice have five. Mice have triangular heads, shorter snouts, small eyes, and usually a longer tail than their body.  However, I am not into rodent biology and did not want to look to confirm.  This chicken mom does not handle them at all unless I have a long set of tongs; too many flashbacks to service overseas plus -- rats are aggressive.

(I COULD TELL YOU STORIES ABOUT JUNGLE RATS FROM THE PHILIPPINES.)

Anyway back to the story, hubby and I put down more sticky traps and played the waiting game.  Saenz the said there's another one --- yeppers seems Micky set off a trap but, did not get caught until he beat feet right onto a glue trap.  By the end of the night four mice had been caught.  Hopefully, there are no more.  I found another 15 glue traps to set along the baseboard from Orkin tonight. 

http://www.ehow.com/how_2141591_tell-difference-between-mouse-rat.html

Thursday, August 12, 2010

‘Eggshausted’ Thursday

I am out of sorts today. Last night while my daughter and I bonded over watching the last season of Nip/Tuck (our dirty little secret) seems we were visited by the rodent fairy. Okay, I am leery of mice and their zipping metabolism about my house at night. Ever since, we have had the house leveled and re-leveled as it settled; mice have found passage ways into our humble abode. We have been stuffing steel wool in places; I did not know opened our foundation, dry wall, and plumbing to the great “Mousekapade” of 2010 because those buggers zoom like speed skating Olympians on ice.



No sooner than, Lisa headed off to bed; she let out a feminine peal of terror, came running back to the couch and said “Mickey is under the dresser!” LOL


Mickey took up residence in her room. I was not about to wake up hubby since, he gets up at 3:30 to make it to CCAD on time.  We had to hold off Mouse Hunting him down. Though he has a sizeable bounty on his head now -- death or eviction.  I will not be able to sleep well. Then no less than 15 minutes later, Saenz told me when I went to turn out his lights Mickey’s friends were dashing about his room – three of them. (WHICH I seriously doubt 3 Blind Mice are playing in his room, nonetheless Saenz requested the lights stay on for the night.


I woke up after a horrible time trying to sleep (mental images abound in my mind) thinking Mickey and his friends were going to play Knick Knack Patty Whack on my forehead during the night. Thus, I forgot to make coffee for my husband so the apology post earlier. As, I yawn and drink buckets of coffee just to get my chores done; I will be watching for San Patricio Electric to install the electric meter for the cabin since the company was a complete NO SHOW yesterday.


Will Keep Ya’ll Posted,


I am off to figure out where those little furry feet of flurry are finding their way into the house.