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Friday, January 30, 2009

In One Week....

Jeff and I will be getting rocked to sleep by the gentle sway of our ship, absorbed in the sweet lullaby of the motors taking us farther and farther away from land.
I booked our cruise and surprised Jeff for our 16th wedding anniversary. We had to take it within the year to get our 25% off from the cruise that Hurricane Gustav cut one day short. We've always taken them in the late summer, so we decided to try a different time of the year. Okay, maybe the whole hurricane experience had something to do with it. At any rate, it feels very strange working on a tan and packing summer things when it is still so cold outside. I'm looking forward to warm sun on my face and the smell of salty air surrounding me. Most of all, I am looking forward to time alone with Jeff!!! Once again, Jeff's parents will be keeping the kids while we are gone. I'm so thankful for their willingness to do this for us.
One more week!!!
I'm so excited!!!

Roots and Leaves

We're studying plants this week in Science. The kids were happy to move on to something a little more tasty..haha! I set a sweet potato up to show the kids how it is a root and will sprout if given long enough. It has grown a few great sprouts, but hasn't started putting out vines yet. We started it a couple of weeks ago so it would be sprouting by the time we studied roots. We've enjoyed watching it and look forward to seeing it grow something green!
On Tuesday, we had carrots and sweet potatoes for our "root" meal. Carter loves carrots anyway but hasn't had a lot of sweet potatoes. Jeff was upset that I didn't make my sweet potato casserole, but I wanted a dish that I could put both of the roots into. I cooked them slowly with porkchops and maple syrup along with some other seasonings. It overcooked a little while waiting for the boys to finish up with karate but still tasted pretty good...not our favorite. It probably would have been better with ham. Yesterday, we went outside to find samples of some of the roots and leaves that we've been studying. I gave each one of them two notecards with a description written on them. They each had to find what I had written on their cards. There's not a lot of green outside right now, so I was a little worried about finding everything. We did find everything on our cards, even though one of them was brown! We sorted everything and taped them to the note cards. I think they learned more through that process than they did actually looking for the stuff. Now that we've studied the different types of roots and leaves, it will be fun to quiz them on it next time we go camping. Of course, we'll have to be careful with Madison and her tendency to get poison ivy!! I actually didn't let her touch very much of the green stuff yesterday...all she has to do is walk past it! I'm not sure how she survived camping the last time!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bread Mold Contest Results

It looks like Madison won the contest! Her bread has the most mold on it, but we also found some interesting things on the other bread!
There are five common types of bread mold. I think that we managed to grow some of each.
Here is Madison's bread..the winner.
She has black mold on the top. Along the bottom there is the green mold with the white edges. Then, there is the brownish/yellow(peanut butter looking) mold in the middle.
Here is Patrick's bread. He also has some of the greenish/gray mold with white edges as well as the brownish/yellow mold. He didn't get any of the black mold on his.
Carter grew the strangest of all of the mold. He had some cool yellow mold, but the most interesting was the hair-like mold growing off of the side of the bread. I have researched and found some that looks a little like it, but not exactly.
I have saved the most interesting for last.....mine! Why is it the most interesting? Well, see for yourselves!!!
My bread grew absolutely, positively NOTHING!!! That's what I get for bragging ahead of time that I would grow the most mold. I have no idea why mine didn't grow anything. I moistened it and added sugar just like Madison did. I had it in a dark, moist place. It was still so fresh today that we could have had it for lunch!!! I guess I came in last place!!
Now I have the nasty job of making slides with each type of mold. We are going to look at them under the microscope to try and figure out exactly what types they are. At least my bread will be easy to work with!!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

We Have A Teenager!

I could go on and on about how it makes me feel to type those words, but readers will either understand it already(if they have made it to this point) or not get it even after they read my words(if they haven't arrived yet). Yes, I knew from the moment that Madison left my body that she would grow to be a teenager....I have felt it approaching more quickly as each year has passed, but I still cannot comprehend that she is anything other than our little baby. Our little baby is now our big baby...our teenager. I hope we made this particular birthday special for her...one she will always remember.
We skipped school on her actual birthday and went to see a movie. Before going to the movies, we let her open one of her gifts. Then, Madison's Mimi and her niece, Anna Beth, came by to wish her a happy birthday.

I let her take a friend with us...a homeschool friend, of course, since it was during school hours. Her friend came home with us afterwards for cake and gifts.
We had her birthday party with some of her friends and cousins this past weekend. My sister, Vicki, and I took the girls to get their nails done then to see a movie. Afterwards, we did a little shopping before going home to have gumbo for dinner. Vicki made the gumbo, so it was very yummy!

We have had so many birthday cakes lately that Madison decided that she wanted a cookie cake instead. I really wanted to get a cake so we could have it decorated in a young teenager theme. I didn't think we could get that with a cookie cake, but we did...we loved it!! Madison and I had such a good time picking out everything for the cake table. Of course, she loves party planning as much as I do!
Madison opened her gifts then gave the girls the little gift bags that she made up for them. Afterwards, we played Bingo and some other games. The girls finally went to bed around 4:00, but not before a "classic slumber party game" of Truth or Dare! Yes, I was the one taking the pictures because the girls insisted that I join in. I once wrote an article titled "I'm Still Invited". I wrote it one evening after Madison and her friends had insisted that I join them in their playtime. At that time, I knew that there would come a day when they would no longer want me there...perhaps when they were teenagers. As I sat there with them two nights ago...across from my teenage daughter, I once again counted my blessings for having been invited. Yes, I was very tired and ready to go to bed, but would have never told them no. I laughed and carried on right along with them and watched them quit their game as I went to bed, hearing them claiming that it just wouldn't be the same without me. I don't know how much longer this will be true, but I will grab every moment while I can.

Happy Birthday Madison...my first baby...my teenager! We love you!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Have You Had Your Bacteria And Fungi Today?

We spent last week studying bacteria and fungi. We read about it, looked at it under a microscope, and even ate it! The kids were amazed to learn that both of them are helpful to us as well as harmful.
On Monday we collected ditch water in a dish and looked at it under a microscope. It was cool to see it up close, especially when we spotted tiny things swimming around. I managed to snap a picture through the microscope lens.
We also started our mold growing contest. Each one of us took a slice of bread and prepared it in whatever way we chose. We then put each one of them in separate Ziploc bags and chose where we wanted to store them. We are going to see which one will grow the most mold in a given time.
On Tuesday we had some fungi for lunch.....fried mushrooms. Patrick and I are the only ones in the family who really like mushrooms, but I wanted Madison and Carter to try them cooked a new way. Patrick ate four of them. He said he prefers them cooked into a dish. Madison thought she wanted to eat them, but stopped after one. Carter wouldn't even try them. I ate more than anyone, but they aren't something that I would cook very often! I served something everyone would like on Wednesday...sour cream disguised in ranch dip. I guess they like bacteria better than fungi!
We didn't get around to making our homemade yogurt until yesterday. We followed the recipe and put it in a warm, dark place to incubate for 12 hours. It was to be put into the refrigerator for another 12 hours at 5:30 this morning. I waited a little longer to see if it would firm up more, but it didn't. I went ahead and refrigerated it at 10:00...we'll see what happens. So far, Madison's bread has the most mold on it. We will finish the competition on Friday, then look at the mold under our microscope. We've added rice to our ditch water to see if anything will grow in it and will look at it under the microscope again in a few days.
Next, we will be eating...I mean studying...roots!