Monday, November 24, 2008

We'll Keep An Eye Out For You

Well, I guess you could call this "Part 2 of What you Won't Do for Your Child's Education!" In keeping with our anatomy education this month, I led a cow eye dissection for our homeschool coop this month. I do have to admit that the eyes are a bit disgusting compared to the cow heart and lungs, but in the name of education, I'm sure you all can handle it! After all, if a six year old (along with several other grade school ages) can handle it, I'm sure you can too! We had about 30 kids dissecting these eyes - I'm so proud of them - only one had to go for fresh air! They all just dove in! The title of my post "We'll Keep An Eye Out For You", believe it or not, is actually what the butcher told me when I asked for 12 cow eyes!!!! Har, Har, Har!!! Of course this comment was made to me after I had several questioning stares - after all, what in the world would you want with 12 cow eyes? Here is a fun little video with different clips from the dissection. Listen close to some of the comments - the kids crack me up! Notice my reference above regarding the "dove in" comment - listen for my son's comment about a swimming pool.

Here are some still shots of the kids in action:

The eye - poor Molly Cow is still staring at us! This actually helped the kids see the muscles and fat attached to the eye (gross).

Well, here it goes!

I can't believe my little 7 year old doesn't mind dissecting things like this!!! Here is the lesson - don't limit your kids to what you think is gross or "un-do-able"!

Here is Lexie looking at the retina and optic nerve up close:

These 2 (not my children) are having a great time holding parts - see it's not just my kids that are enjoying this!

Here is a close up of the back of the eye - if you look close you can see the lens in the middle - and the shiny green at the back of the eye. Animals have this reflective coating to help them see at night - we don't have this - this is why animal eyes glow at night when you shine a light on them!

Well, you made it through this post - I hope you are not green at the gills! To reassure you, I don't think we will be doing any more dissections for a while (tee, hee). Who knows what we'll come up with next!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Things You Do for Your Children's Education!!! (Circulatory and Respiratory System)

The things you do for your kids education!!! If you've read some of the recent posts, you know we have been studying the systems of the body and learning about the character trait of cooperation. Well this week, we've been finishing studying 2 systems that really have to cooperate - the circulatory and respiratory systems. We have all learned so much!!!!

This first video is a "walk-through" model we made so each of the kids could act out being a blood cell and understand how the blood circulates through the body, specifically how it goes through the heart and how it is oxygenated by the lungs. I can't believe how much my kids understand (and mom too), now that we've physically walked through the circulatory system.

Now, warning for the squeamish, this next video may not be for you! Come on, give it a try, it is actually not all that bad! For the grand finale, we dissected cow lungs and hearts yesterday. The following is a video of my family and another homeschooling family putting air in the lungs to see them expand. The kids reactions are pretty funny!

I do have to say, that I'm doing things I would never have dreamed I would be doing. I'm definitely not the nurse or doctor type much to my mother's dismay (she's a retired nurse). For all of those moms out there who have thought about homeschooling but think you just couldn't do it - let me say this: Oh, yes you can!!! I was the last person to ever think I would home school - no way, not me!!! Through health circumstances of one of my children, I was kicked between the shoulder blades into homeschooling. I am so glad! It's one of the hardest thing I've ever done in my life but has definitely given our family huge blessings and lessons in the process! I always tell new homeschooling moms that its more about stretching and growing the mom than about teaching the kids. Although, your kids will be smarter than smart! So, if your a mom sitting on the fence - JUMP! Your life will never be the same - you don't even have to wear rubber boots and a denim jumper! Or, if you are just someone that likes to be entertained by a crazy homeschool family's antics, sit back and enjoy! Sister Vonda, this video is for you! (wink, wink).

Well, after we watched the lungs in action, we dissected them along with the heart. We found the bronchioles in the lungs and heart strings, chambers and valves of the heart. Jordan was amazed at how hard it was to actually go through the valve the wrong way - God is an amazing designer. We were able to identify which side of the heart was the left side (its the stronger side because it pumps the blood throughout the body, not just to the lungs). The muscles on the left side are thicker. It was amazing to see how this wasn't hard for the kids to dissect - I think it has a lot to do with how I, as the mom react. If I'm grossed out, they will be too. Addie, my 7 year old, just had a grand time hacking away at the heart! Take a look at her little sly smile as she is dissecting!

Future Heart Surgeons:

Checking out the lungs:

You gotta have heart (har, har)!

Really, really, really checking out the lungs:

This isn't so bad:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Something Sweet and Easy


This is something so fun for the kiddos to make. I did this with Emma a couple of weekends ago and it only takes 5 minutes. Easy easy. There are a couple of variations where you use a cake mix and make up a big batch and put it in small gift baggies. You then put them in a mug with instructions on how to make (by adding an egg, milk and oil) and give them away as small gifts to neighbors, teachers, friends and such. I will also add that variation at the bottom.

You will need a large mug with no metal trim or decorations. This cake is one serving and it is made it in the microwave.

Spray the inside of the mug with cooking spray.

You will need  the following:
4 Tablespoons flour
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons milk
3 Tablespoons oil

Whisk together flour, sugar and unsweetened cocoa. Then add the remainder of the ingredients. I did this in a separate bowl because the first time it did not blend well in the bottom of the cup. 

Prepare your mug by spraying the inside well with spray vegetable oil.

Pour the batter in the mug. Now you may lick the bowl, the spatula and your fingers. But only when mom is not looking. doesn't look like much does it? but watch.

Put it in the microwave for three minutes and watch it puff up and up.

Ahhhh! but it settles back down after you take it out. 

Tip the cup over being careful not to burn yourself. The steam from the cake is hot. Then you can have your whole cake and eat it too. Talk mom into making a little glaze for it. Yum.

Another variation:

Cake in a Mug Gift: Get a large mug with no metal trim (because the cake is microwaved). This cake is kind of a brownie consistency. It is one serving and made in a microwave.

Cake in a Mug (makes 8)

18 ¼ oz. Chocolate Cake Mix (box, any brand)
3.9 oz. pkg. Instant chocolate pudding mix
3 c. powdered sugar, divided
4 ½ T. hot cocoa mix, divided

Place dry cake mix and pudding mix in a large mixing bowl; mix together. Divide and place a ½ cup mix in 8 plastic Ziploc sandwich bags; label as cake mix. Tuck one bag in a large mug that will hold at least 1 ½ cups of water. Place 1/3 cup powdered sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons hot cocoa mix and ¼ teaspoon vanilla powder in 8 plastic Ziploc snack bags; label as glaze mix. This makes 8 individual mixes for coffee mugs.

Tie a gift tag with instructions onto the handle with raffia or a ribbon

Spray inside of coffee mug with nonstick vegetable spray. Empty contents of cake mix bag into mug and add one egg, 1 Tablespoon oil and 1 Tablespoon water. Mix until well blended. Microwave on high for two minutes. While cake is baking place glaze mix in small mixing bowl and add 1 ½ teaspoons water, mix well. When cake is done, pour glaze over cake in cup and eat while warm or not.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Have A Gratitude Attitude!

Vonda challenged me into posting some "craftiness" that I had been doing lately. She knows me all too well - when it gets cold outside all I want to do is snuggle up with something warm to drink and craft away. So it happens, because I get this "itching" in the fall, I have a lot of fall and Christmas projects, and am burnt out by January! So here is the latest artsy fartsy thing I've finished. I love the saying "Have a gratitude attitude!" I reminds me to be so very thankful for all the blessings and trials in my life. I hope it reminds you today that you have much to be thankful for - every day! The pumpkins are a craft I did a few years ago - they have real sticks for their stems - they were very easy and fun to do! The scarecrow below is something I painted many moons ago when I had less children and more time to leave paints out!

I'll try to keep posting finished projects in the upcoming weeks - but sister Vonda - it is definitely your turn!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Time, Yes It Is All About Time

I know, I know I have been absent from this blog as well as the Wee Ones. I hope to do better but I have two older sisters that never keep up with us at all. So until they hop on board again I guess this will be the Vonda and Kristi blog. 

So Kristi, I know you the crafty little woman that you are, are working on something Christmasy. Can you share?  Just an assumption since you do so many cute things.  I wish we lived closer because I have these cool wooden shutters just waiting to be painted on.  

Speaking of those, are there any bloggers out there reading this that have some good ideas for what I can do with these? I am always looking for some good ideas.

So I am just popping in to say hi and if I ever get some time I will share some stuff that I want to make for the holidays.  Time, time, time. Where is it?