Thursday, August 20, 2009

Science Lab in a Supermarket

We have been working through the experiments in Science Lab in a Supermarket, and today we spent some time learning about how water travels through plants.

In Experiment #1 we used colored water to observe how the water travels through the celery's capillaries.

In Experiment #2 we made a cut in one side of the celery stalk and then observed that the part above the cut section was not red like the other side after being in the colored water.
In Experiment #3 we compared two pieces of celery that had been left in the refrigerator for a few hours - one with water, and one without.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Comfort Food

Jordan has been making dinner once a week, and this week she decided to make Zucchini Chowder. This is a recipe I found years ago in a Taste of Home magazine and is definitely one our family's favorites.

Zucchini Chowder
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced, fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
pinch sugar, optional
1/4 cup chopped parsley, optional

In a Dutch oven or soup kettle over medium heat, saute the zucchini, onion, parsley and basil in butter until vegetables are tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in water. Add the bouillon and lemon juice; mix well. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, milk and corn; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until corn is tender. Just before serving, stir in cheeses until melted. Add sugar and garnish with parsley, if desired.

Yield: About 2-1/2 quarts

She also made Rosemary Bread, which tasted sooo good with the chowder. If you have ever had the bread from Macaroni Grille, this bread tastes very similar...yum!

Rosemary Bread
1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon rosemary
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select white bread cycle; press start.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gag Me!

Today we dissected owl pellets. For those of you who may not know what that means, let me explain a bit. Owls usually eat their food whole. The parts that cannot be digested, like bones and feathers, are formed into a ball called a pellet. These pellets are then coughed up, basically. By dissecting a pellet, you can see exactly what the owl ate.

I found a chart on the internet to help identify the bones and what animals they came from.

When we were done I had the kids list what they found. They found shrew skulls, jaws, pelvic bones, ribs, and scapulas; mole skulls, pelvic bones, scapulas and ribs; bird pelvic bones and hind limbs; and rodent skulls and jaws (with teeth in some). Like I said...gag me!

Where's Brandt?

I've followed a guy named Brandt Russo online for a couple of years now. Brandt lives on the streets and does whatever he can for the people he comes in contact with. He says, "I just try to love. Everyday." Brandt is a beautiful example of what it means to love like Jesus. Earlier today on Facebook he linked to an amazing article he wrote for Enoch Magazine and I wanted to share it here.

written by Brandt Russo

About a year back, I was in New Orleans with a youth group that wanted to learn how to serve the homeless. Earlier that day, they had made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and brought apples and water hoping it would bring a smile and some hope to someone with an empty stomach. Being that I’d spent a year homeless to better understand the homeless and urban poor, I get asked often to take groups out to teach them how to love practically.


This particular time broke my heart. One of the girls from the group approached a lovely black elderly fellow we called Jazz. Jazz was about 60, and the wrinkles on his face told many stories if you stared long enough. Jazz played the sax in the French Quarter every day hoping to make enough to spend the night in the local shelter (yes they charge every night after week’s free stay). “Hungry, anything helps” read his tattered cardboard sign, dampened by the morning rain. She walked up without asking him his name or how he was and handed him an apple. With a grin, he politely refused and she walked away grumbling something under her breath.

When I approached her to ask her what she was upset about, she had already started telling her friends that “all that homeless man wanted was money. He is probably an alcoholic.” I asked her to walk back with me, and as I walked up to Jazz I offered him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and the biggest, TOOTHLESS smile came on his face as he thanked us for the sandwich. You see, Jazz hadn’t been able to eat an apple since his teeth had been knocked out in a street fight twelve years back. It’s incredible the stories you will hear if you take the time to get to know these beautiful, broken street people. This girl had walked away changed.


I find it simply amazing the chasm between class lines, especially in the “Christian” world. Jesus had this amazing idea that if you mix class lines, they tend to dissolve. That if we fall in love with someone’s heart, they are no longer homeless in our eyes, but become family. It’s a beautiful transition that happens when we take the time to extend ourselves to those whom we are “most afraid” of . If you were to take a group of kids from the ghetto camping in the woods, they would be terrified of every sound, praying not to get eaten by a bear. If we were to take a group of suburban kids to the ghetto, the same would happen (replacing the bear with a gunshot). We are all so afraid of what we don’t know, and sadly, we are usually more afraid of our preconceived ideas of that fear than we are of the “fear” itself.

The media has done wonders dehumanizing the poor, so it’s no wonder that we do all we can to ignore them. If you walk downtown, don’t make eye contact, they say. Don’t carry cash. Walk on the opposite side of the street.jay2It’s amazing the lengths we take to avoid the very people Jesus spent His life serving. I think what we tend to forget is that every “poor” person is somebody’s loved one. A grandfather or grandmother, son or daughter. We live our lives for our own flesh and blood, and would do ANYTHING we can to fix theirbroken lives, and yet Jesus made it clear that we are ALL FAMILY.

In Genesis 1:27 (Message), it says that “God spoke: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature’ “. We are all sons and daughters of the creator of this world, all as splendid as the sun and worthy of honor and love. My life has been changed, not only by the stories of these broken people, but by sharing in their joys and sufferings. I’ve found Jesus in the eyes of many a homeless person. We can’t ignore the poor, because as Mother Teresa said, “In the poor, we find Jesus in His most distressing disguise.” Be love to someone today, and find your own “Jazz.” It will change everything.

When they're "bored"...

So this is what happens when we take a break from tv, computers, and video games for over a month...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Building an Insect Zoo

We have been reading and learning about insects this week and one of our activities is to make an insect zoo. Basically we're just collecting different bugs in some containers we've been saving, and then identifying and learning more about them. We went out for a while today to search for some insects to add to our zoo. Jordan managed to find a small Leaf Bug on Owen's back and we have it in a jar with a blackberry leaf, which we read they are fond of. Owen chased a grasshopper around for a while trying to catch it, but finally gave up! We also found a blackberry bush and picked a small handful of berries. Yum!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Playing Dress-Up

Here is what Sage looked like today after spending some time upstairs with Brandon. She loves to dress up and I am definitely going to be adding to her "dress up" collection. She came down the stairs saying, "Look, Mommy. I'm a princess."

What's Your Homeschool Philosophy?

I love this blog post because it sums up so well what we are trying to put into our children, not only in our homeschool, but in every area of life.

How to Amuse Them Today

For 2500 years the world has watched as two competing philosophies of education have vied for prominence. The Greek philosophy exalts knowledge above all else. Socrates said, “There is only one good, knowledge, and only one evil, ignorance.” The Greeks spent hours debating truth and arguing among themselves.

Within the Jewish culture however, there was a different priority. First was a search for relationships. The Jew wanted relationship on two planes- both the vertical and the horizontal. The first quest was to love God. The second quest was to love your fellow man. These two truths were inseparable. John says in 1 John 4:20 “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”

After these relationships were firmly established, THEN Jewish philosophy began to pursue wisdom and knowledge. 1 Cor. 8:1 says “…knowledge puffs up, but love builds ups.” Within these few words Paul clearly articulates the contrast between knowledge and relationships. Loving edifies while knowledge for the sake of knowledge only makes one prideful. And without doubt- the Greeks prided themselves on their knowledge, thinking of themselves as better than anyone else in the ancient world for this very reason. But Paul argues that knowledge apart from loving relationships is a waste of time- foolishness that only blinds us with crippling pride.

So which philosophy is the foundation for your homeschool? Are you following the Greek model in the headlong pursuit of academic achievement and knowledge above all else? Or are you following the Jewish model that stresses loving God and loving others as the safeguard which prevents the pursuit of knowledge from turning us into proud, arrogant fools?

Different curriculum publishers, homeschool speakers and book authors have all made a choice as well. It shouldn’t take you long to discern whether they have built upon a Greek or a Jewish philosophy of education. One seeks to exalt the human mind and it’s potential first and foremost- while the other seeks to ground us in a knowledge of God and a love for others to avoid the pride which inevitably results from the relentless pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

Share these truths with your children today. Talk with them about your priorities in education. Ask them what we mean when we say someone is a “know it all.” Even a child knows that someone who has lots of knowledge but doesn’t care about the feelings of the people around him quickly becomes despised because of his pride and arrogance.

Before you crack open the math, history or science book today, think of at least one way for you and your children to express your love to God, and at least one way to express your love to another human being. Perhaps a simple prayer or worship song might express your love to God. And perhaps cleaning up a sibling’s room for them, or offering to help weed an elderly neighbor’s garden might be a practical expression of love for others. NOW you can dig deep into geography or grammar knowing that your priorities are rightly grounded today.

Go back and look over the verses above and talk with your children about them.

And please- don’t ever say that Steve is against knowledge and education. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am 100% in favor of academic excellence and achievement- as long as it’s in its rightful place after we have nurtured a relationship with the Lord and a love for others.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Electronics Fun

Jerid bought the kids a circuit board a couple weeks ago and they have been having tons of fun learning how create things with it (shhhh, don't tell them they're learning). We had a friend over today and Owen was teaching Alex how to use it.