Monday, September 26, 2011

Schooling Michelle

Michelle loves children and working in the kitchen. If I let her, she would have our yard filled with farm animals. She is a most compassionate person. She is also a hard worker. However, her interests are not very academic. So coming up with her school curriculum is a challenge. She would rather cook or babysit all day rather than do school. So what did we come up with?

Well, I am having her teach the younger two children art. This has been a win-win for the family. I am also having her do a sketching course. Time will tell if that is successful. She must finish Pre-Algebra this year and Physical science.

Her reading includes things like a cookbook, that covers the different regions of the US, A book that teaches how to run a small farm and all the skills needed, including electrical, plumbing, digging a well, and raising animals. She really enjoys that book.

She is also doing the Mystery of History vol 3 with us as a family. Plus all the other together subjects. She is also doing a lot of reading.

I have assigned her 'Roosevelt's Letters to his Children', 'All Quiet on the Western Front', the book that is Edward Bok's Autobiography, 'Seven Men Who Rule the World From the Grave', Hazlitt's 'Economics in One Lesson', 'Flying Cloud' a biography of the woman who navigated the fastest clipper ship passage around the horn ( a great read, by the way), 'Microbe Hunters', 'Holiness of God', A book on de-cluttering, and she has to copy a recipe in her personal cookbook every week. She also does a daily language lesson and is working on Seterra for geography. Now she doesn't do all of them every day, but she does work on them a little bit every week.

Michelle also works on her craft project while we do school together. She has been very busy lately on making two 'quiet books' for two of her friend's children. She is a real artsy-crafty person. Very artistic. She has grown into a delightful young woman.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Michelle Bakes a cake!!!

Michelle baking a cake is not big news. She does it often. However, this summer we celebrated my Mom and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary.

Michelle decided to try and make a cake for the party that looked like their original wedding cake.

Here is the wedding photo she had to work from.

She started on Thursday baking the cakes, Friday, she iced the layers and decorated the edges. Saturday, we took the cakes to the party site and Michelle put the cake together.

She then decorated around each layer to hide the cardboard that the cake set on.

She set it up....

Layer by layer.

Until it was all put together and decorated.

Michelle then used fresh flowers on top as we didn't have a bride and groom cake topper like was on the original wedding cake.

Mom and Dad exchanged bites. Just like on their wedding day.

The top layer was a white almond cake with a raspberry filling. This was the middle layer, a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

The bottom layer was chocolate cake with a chocolate mousse filling. It was not the least bit healthy! No, I didn't have any. Our guests cleaned up every last bit of cake. There wasn't a piece left. I guess that means that it tasted as good as it looked.

Way to go Michelle!

Friday, September 23, 2011

School Planning

This school year was one of the most challenging I have ever had in putting together our family schedule and curriculum. It seems like as the children get older they are going in more directions. I will explain what decisions we made and what we are doing.

We use a Charlotte Mason approach to our school. We use a lot of our material from That does simplify things.

Here is what we are doing...
Paul is in grade 12.5 this year. He could have graduated last spring , but.... He hadn't finished his math or Physics. He did get the math done this summer. However, the real reason he is doing school this year, is that he fell in love with debate.

We have a local speech and debate club through CCA (Christian Communicators of America) state group the CCO. It has been an excellent experience for him. He didn't start until last year and because he doesn't turn 19 until January, he is eligible to participate IF he is home schooled.
So he is schooling with us.
So what do you do for grade 12.5?!!! That was a big question for me too. We started off by having him do Physics. Yep, he must FINISH it this year. He also is working on completing a Small Motors course. He must join us in our memory work ( Heb 11:21-40, some poems) and some of the other subjects we are working on together- Mon: Logic. Tue: Anatomy and Physiology, Wed: Economics Thurs: Plutarch's Lives (Pericles). I have also given him a reading list... Spurgeon's Lectures to his Students, A book on apologetics. Thomas Sowell's Autobiography, An Economics book by Larry Burkett and one other book I can't remember right now. He is also free to work with his Dad. We are calling this an 'apprenticeship'. Last week he was only in 'school' one day. As long as he gets his assignments done I am fine with it. It doesn't matter when he does it in a day, just so long as it gets completed. He is working hard and saving his money.

Any ideas of what you do with your non-college interested older boys?


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Random Things and photos

I sometimes leave my camera lying around and I am always surprised at what I find when I download pictures...

This is Michelle with my youngest nephew, Isaac. This was taken at the family Labor Day picnic. I love their big blue eyes.

Apparently, one of my children , misunderstood the concept of money laundering and took it literally.

The camera is also used to tattle on someone who didn't get their dishes done on time or properly.

Michelle uses the camera to record beauty. These were some of the flowers that my DH gave me for our anniversary.

Thomas takes pictures of his Lego models. He is starting to grow out of the Lego stage, as he spends more time on his studies.

I took this picture of T-Bob. He made this hat himself on a circle 'knitter'. He worked on it during school hours. Michelle helped him by making the pom-poms. He wears the hat almost all the time.

Elizabeth lost her two front teeth this week. It sure changes her appearance. I love her cute little lisp.

That's the News from the Mangos.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Successful Melons - Garden Update

We have never had success in growing any kind of melons in our garden. We have tried a number if times and always failed. Pretty sad. We added some more gardening beds this year and decided to give melons one more shot, as we had the extra room. It worked!!

The combination of very warm temperatures and regular rain ended up yielding us some very nice melons. This was the first cantaloupe we picked. It was huge, almost ten pounds. What is really nice is that we have about eight more cantaloupe still to pick. We also have a watermelon that will be ripe soon. Things that grow on vines, are doing great this year.

The melon was very sweet and delicious. I wish you all could have a taste, it was really good.

I will give a more complete garden update soon.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Michelle's Birthday Trip

This year Michelle is 16. We were supposed to go when she was 13, but I, her Mom, am a procrastinator. So I planned the trip for this year. We had a grand time. She knew that we were going on a trip, but the activities were a surprise. This is what we did.....

We headed to Cincinnati to the most amazing grocery store I have ever seen. It is called Jungle Jim's. It is a 'destination' grocery store! It is about the size of three Walmarts. They import food, from about every country on the globe. We had visited here last year and Michelle has been hankering for a return trip.

THis is heading toward the entrance. If you want more details, check out their website . We spent about 3 hours traipsing up and down their aisles on Monday afternoon. My poor feet!

They also have a cooking school on the premises. Michelle and I took a cooking class on Monday and Tuesday night. They did a nice job and were quite accommodating about her gluten intolerance situation. This is their main entrance. They do have big fish tanks so you can have fresh fish, but that is not where we went to see fish.

We went to the Newport Aquarium in Newport KY. It was very well done and the nicest aquarium I have ever been to. I took lots of pictures with my old camera.

These are the worms that implant themselves in the sea bottom and look like asparagus.

These are Japanese crabs. Can you see the face on the bottom of his belly? I didn't notice it there, when he was jumping around, but when I came home and looked at the picture, it almost weirded me out. When it is enlarged, it looks EXACTLY like a face!

This is a very large alligator snapping turtle. I wouldn't want him swimming in a pond near where I was swimming. That head is about six inches across!

These are the largest toads I have ever seen! Isn't God's creation marvelous? It is just so unique and fascinating. No way it could have just happened by chance!

The aquarium has a number of tunnels through different fish tanks. It is really neat to stay dry, yet have so any fish swimming right near you and even above you!

For lunch we walked down the hill to the River Boat cruises. It was a very clean boat and we had a lovely two hour trip up and down the Ohio River. This is the boat we went on, The River Queen.

This was my favorite bridge on the river. Why? you ask. It was the first bridge built anywhere across the Ohio River. It was built as a model for the Brooklyn Bridge and it is really beautiful in form. It is the most elegant bridge I have ever seen.

We also saw a big barge being pushed up the river. Our boat had to move over to the side to let it by. This was a lunch cruise, but we were spectators only. We brought our own GF lunch on board. We had cheese and olives, blueberries(fresh) and fresh lychees that we picked up at Jungle Jim's. They are a favorite with Michelle.

We then headed up a bunch of stairs to see the rest of the aquarium.

We watched them feed the penguins. They have a large exhibit of them.

Then more time watching the sharks in their walk-through tank.

We spent quite a bit of time petting and watching the smaller sharks in their petting tank. We even saw some shark eggs.

Well, if you were wondering how tall Michelle has gotten, the answer is, pretty tall! She did have crocs on, and she's still growing!

We left the aquarium and headed back to Jungle Jim's for round two. We only had to walk around and shop for another two hours, before and after class. The second class was on main dish salads. This is a modern interpretation of a Cobb Salad. I think it was my favorite. If you want the yummy details, ask.

This was a Caesar salad, made into a main dish by the addition of a grilled beef skewer. Also, yummy. We headed back to our friends house where we spent our overnights. It was a really nice time away and we each enjoyed it and our time together. I have a very special daughter and I love her very much!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Memorial Day, Our Town's Style

This year was the first year that Dallas was ready for attending a parade and public event. The children have sort of trained him to ignore other dogs and to not try to eat the little ones for a snack. They are not big chipmunks.
Last year we were visiting some of Roger's family up in Wisconsin.

Our family tradition is to eat breakfast at the park. We used to try and get the charcoal going and cook it over the coals, but we found that it took too long and was too stressful. We all seem to enjoy it more when it is cooked at home and brought along.

DH bought and brought the OJ. He knows that otherwise we don't have it unless it's a birthday or holiday. He likes to get the children treats.

Michelle and JoAn were big helps in preparing the food.

It was really delicious. Scrambled eggs, grits, sausage, and GF coffee cake that was made in muffin pans instead of a 9x13. They cooked quicker that way. Easier to handle also.

Then we walked down to the big road to see the parade.

Michelle used Dallas as a back rest. He didn't seem to mind.

The ground was so wet and muddy, that it was hard to find a place to perch.

Recognize these faces? Any long term blog readers will see that they are Chance and Ulysses. The two little guys that joined us for homeschooling last year. They are doing well. Chance is going to a Christian School and Ulysses is home with his mom.

Our parade is pretty basic. The marching band, Brownies and Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Softball teams and some old cars and fire engines.
There are plenty of politicians throwing candy and dog bones too. It is a real dog friendly event.

The gentleman in the light blue coat is Al Smith my principal from Junior High. He was a nice guy, but very strict, an ex-marine I believe. He swung a big paddle when students misbehaved. It was displayed prominently in his office. Such things were legal back then. Every year I am sort of anxious to see if he is still around. His traditional job is to read the names of all the soldiers who died in the military from our town. They go back to the civil war.

This year the speech by the honored guest was a little strange. The Pentagon wrote the speech and ordered everybody giving a speech on Memorial Day to use theirs. I'm not crazy about that idea. It is not very personal and I kinda feel like it's a little 'Big Brotherish'. (You think?!!!)

This was definitely the wettest Memorial Day in the park that I remember, and it didn't even rain. There was standing water everywhere. The mud splashed up to our knees as we walked. I think the local farmers might be better off planting rice than corn.