Sunday, February 16, 2014

4H Pet Poster Project

 Victoria and I are having lots of fun with 4H this year. We start our meeting with games to promote public speaking and then spend the rest of the time working on a project. This past month's topic was Pets. Of course Victoria chose to learn more about her Syrian Longhaired hamster named Georgie. All the kids chose a pet, or a pet they would like to have. They researched proper diet, habitat, anatomy, the breeds origin and interesting facts. The kids also sewed 14 felt mice and 22 strings on a stick kitty toys for the humane society which were greatly appreciated. Victoria is very excited about the Fair this summer knowing that she might be able to win a ribbon for any of her projects. This will be her first year that she can do that since Cloverbuds don't win place ribbons. They usually get participation ribbons.

A Few Moments....

 The reward for setting up for co-op and finishing early...
A picture of how a little sister can coerce her big brothers into holding the jump rope ends.



I guess Sidgrid is healthy....he's unzipped his birthday suit and has a new one already.

Seed Experiment

Victoria's ziplock bean seed experiment is coming along quite well. Nothing like growing green beans while it is snowing I type. She has really gotton into this, turning the light on and off each day. All this growing is making me look forward to planting our garden in May. We have new ideas that we can't wait to start. It is almost time to start our seedlings indoors too.
Aahh, spring is in the air.....well almost since it is currently snowing outside.

One Spoiled Tortoise!

How to tell if your tortoise is spoiled?
1. He will only eat when the sun is shining.
2. He prefers to be hand fed.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Jared!

Our family is half grown into adulthood.
It kind of freaks me out.
I still feel young but then look at Jared, who is taller than me,
and I start to feel older. Especially when I look in the mirror.
Oh yeah, I am old enough to have a 21 and 18 year old.
Jared is definitely 18. He is done having his mom be his teacher.
I think I am too, so that is a win, win situation.
I remind him of what he needs to get done in a week regarding his school
schedule and he rolls his eyes. He had either already done it
or had it on his schedule. He is a breath of fresh air knowing that
we have another adult in the house. I know that if it was
not for he and Kaleb tending to our garden all summer, we wouldn't still be eating
vegetables out of our freezer.
He helps us keep up with everything that has to be done in a week.
He makes a killer sandwich that anyone would love to eat especially with
spicy peppers that Kirk canned last summer.
I call him a bread snob because he prefers to make his sandwiches
on a roll rather than a slice of bread.
Jared is a great big brother to all the kids, helping them stay on task
or shows them how to clean something correctly.
Which brings me to one of his better qualities.
He likes things to be clean, often threatening his little sister
with a trash bag if she doesn't clean up her room so he can
vacuum her carpet.
I tell him that any wife will love that he will help
with the cleaning but be careful that he doesn't drive her nuts.
When he was just a little guy, I would often wonder if he
would ever get his shoes on the right feet. Now he buys his own shoes,
choosing styles that I didn't even know he liked.
I love watching him grow into the young man that I know God is
 intending him to be. I love that he is maintaining his Christian values as
he is entering the next stage of his life.
His dad and I are really proud of him.
Now, I just need to survive learning to drive......

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Woo Hoo, A Snow Day!

We have been praying for snow and it has finally come.
 The bummer part is that we had to cancel our co-op classes today.
 Our little snowman reads 6 inches overnight...with more to come!
I think back about our past life in sunny Arizona and ask myself...
Do we miss the warm Arizona sun?....
It is definately cold here but WE LOVE IT WHEN IT SNOWS!
Living in a place with seasons just makes it more interesting.
You can look out the same window every day and see it differently as the seasons come and go. After snow we get beautiful spring flowers. The seasons always bring something to look forward to.
I need that.
 I think we moved to Northern Utah at the right time. Having teenage boys is a huge blessing, especially with all the shoveling that they do. I think our neighbor likes it too. She pays them pretty well to shovel her drive way.
I'm glad their services come with the responsibility of the family.
 Victoria is already stir-crazy since we had to cancel classes. Time to boot her outside and play with the dogs.
 She tried to plow a sledding path but quickly realized that she had better get one of her brothers to help and a slicker sled. I don't know what she would do without her brothers.
 It is the funniest thing to watch the dogs when you throw a snowball for them to chase after. They stick their heads down the hole that the snowball made looking for it. Sam will always come up with a mouthful of snow as if he caught the ball. He just eats everything else he comes in contact with.
 That is the new police department off in the background. We couldn't ask for a better place.....who knew that after our experience in life that we would have a police department and a library just out our back gate!
We feel safe with plenty of good reading!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Clonedike Derby 2014

 The boys scout troop participated in the Clonedike Derby last weekend. They camped in 8 degree weather, while the girls and I were home in our warm house.
One of the dads and his brother and son built the sled. It was pretty impressive and ran beautifully with all the boys pushing. I heard they ran over some kid that threw himself in front of their sled on purpose. Somehow he wasn't hurt.
Kirk has  been a wonderful addition to this troop. In the past the boys have had very light meals or we had to send them with a sack lunch for dinner the first night. Now, with Kirk as Scoutmaster, he gets the boys cooking so they have a hot meal to eat and get them going. I feel better knowing that no one will be going without food. Especially with freezing temperatures. I also love hearing about all the stories that they come back with about the events that took place. Oh, and they even washed the van, plus vacumed it out before returning home. I think they are afraid for me to see how dirty the van gets inside and out when they go on these scouting trips.

Meet Sidgrid

This is Kaleb's little guy Sidgrid.
He has always wanted a lizard as a pet. So after a long wait and debate, he has one. He paid for three quarters of the set up since we already had the tank and screen.
This guys is pretty perky and very observant.
 He has beautiful marking for a brown anole. He turns all shades of brown, tan to grey.
 We have already witnessed him hanging upside down on the screen.
His favorite place is on the thermometer.
I think this little guy will bring us all great enjoyment. I love animals and am so happy to have them around. I also love that I don't have to catch crickets to feed this guy.

Tortoise Rehab Center

Welcome to the Tortoise Rehab Center.
Due to the fact that our beloved Alexander is not allowed to hibernate this winter....hence the rocks he ate that are still in his gut, we have learned lots and lots about how to keep a tortoise awake.
1. Need lots of light. We have a UVB light (which are expensive) suspended in the basement over his habitat to give him the light that he requires to prevent him from wanting to sleep during the short days of winter. 15 minutes in natural sunlight is equivalent to 12 hours of UVB light. So we put him in natural lighting as much as possible.
2. Keep him warm. We have ceramic heating coils (much like your electric burners on your stove but safer and probably more expensive) hanging next to his light in the basement as well. Of course he keeps moving to the cooler part of his habitat to sleep. So we put him in a box, place him in the sun and let him warm up until he is literally trying to crawl out.
3. Exercise. How do you exercise a tortoise? Easy. After you warm him up in the sun, and hand feed him (Kaleb is the most patient for this) place him on a cut off slide from 18 years ago and let him walk on it like a treadmill.....right in the kitchen where it is warmest. He has always used this slide as a treadmill. He climbs up and slides back. When we upgraded to a much bigger slide and play structure that Kirk built, Alex was sad that he couldn't get on the new slide. It was too tall. So Kirk remedied it and sawed it off, leaning it against the wall. Ever since we have had a DIY Tortoise Treadmill. I just never expected for this to be occuring in our kitchen.
4. Keep him hydrated. How do you do this? I actually didn't know how to do this. We srynge fed him critical care food for a couple months so he was getting fluid this way but how do you hydrate a tortoise?  In the bath tub. Reptiles absorb fluid their skin so soaking in a tub of warm water for half an hour keeps them hydrated. He loves it. At first he could care less. He was very week and not very perky. But lately he has been walking around inspecting all edges of the tub. We all take our turns monitoring him in the water with a temperature gun to make sure that the water is 105 degrees.

It was a little stressful at first knowing that we needed to keep him awake all winter. We have had lots of day with fog or when it was snowing and there wasn't much sun shining. He still hangs out in the light but with a heater warming the air. The dogs love it. They don't mind sharing their space with Alex. Hopefully Alex doesn't mind sharing his space with them.


Apologia Botany

 I am teaching a Botany class for Victoria using the Apologia curriculum to 14 homeschoolers. It is a great curriculum and my third time teaching/learning it.  I have had fun and I think the kids have had fun too. One of the things that they build is a light hut for growing plants in, so of course we can't just let it sit there doing nothing. I have sent the kids home with little bulbs of Grape Hyacenth to grow. Victoria's is growing really well. They are growing herbs. I had instructed each of the kids to be careful that they don't accidently dump the dirt with the seeds. Good thing it was in a ziplock bag. Victoria brought hers home with a pile of dirt in the bag and the little peatmoss cups empty. I am sure hers wasn't the only one. Jared scooped the dirt in all three and called it a mystery. So now she has a mixture of herbs coming up in all three of the cups.
The other experiment we have been watching is you put bean seeds on wet paper towels in a plastic bag. You put one bag in the dark, one in the light hut, and one in the fridge. Amazingly, the one in the dark sprouted first and growing the quickest. Victoria had put it in the bottom drawer of Kaleb's desk. She wasn't expecting it to grow like it has. Check out the results below.
 It looks like a little octopus and hard to believe that it was growing in the plastic bag this way.
 Each day the kids check their seeds and measure the growth in centemeters, logging its growth on a chart. It has been the highlight of Victoria's day.
I don't do much when it is cold either so we guessed that it was quite alright that these poor seeds that got put in the fridge didn't grow. We were thinking that it would have been just as easy to put them in the backyard but then decided that it was actually warmer in the refridgerator. I guess being outside would have been more like sitting in the freezer.
Stay tuned for more plant growing experiments, or check out this curriculum here