Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The boys got crystal growing sets for Easter. This went along great with our Future Rock Hounds of America program since we just were working on the Crystal Badge.
Jacob wanted to show the steps of how to make crystals. So, here we go!

First, open the crystal starting package:

Then, make sure the goggles are in place and pour the crystal starter in the mixing container.

Add boiling water.

Then stir until all the mixture is dissolved.Pour the dissolved mixture over the rock in the growing box.WAIT, WAIT, WAIT for those little crystals to start growing.

Patience is a virtue!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pool and Gecko Fun

Have I mentioned that I love the sun and relaxing by the pool. I could definitely live somewhere warm (year round as opposed to the NW where it is cool and usually rainy). Although I do realize that I am just enjoying vacation and don't have the daily responsibilities, I still think that the daily routine would be nicer in the warm sun!!!!

Jacob lounging in the pool!

The pool felt soooo good!
Lots of splashing and jumping in to make bigger splashes!!

Once darkness falls, it's time for GECKO PATROL.

Here are some of the geckos we found out front. There weren't many in the backyard this year. Or else, they had really good hiding places in all the crevices and rocks.

We found this guy just after he caught a moth. He didn't eat it in front of us. Maybe he thought we would want some too. But, not to worry~ we were full from our own dinner.

This year, I don't think any geckos lost tails due to us. Last year the record was not so good. The good thing (for us) is that we discovered the tails wiggle all over to distract the attacker so the gecko can get away!! God sure did cover all the bases in His creation!
We did find one gecko from last year that had 2 tails - the original one and the one that started growing back.
These are the Mediterranean Gecko. Click here to learn more about them.

Time in YUMA, AZ

The Yuma Proving Ground is a HUGE area of desert used by the military to train soldiers for desert work. Sometimes when you drive by you can see tanks doing maneuvers. This time we didn't see any action on the field but we did see a few convoys of soldiers driving back to the base. It was amazing to actually see them ready to protect us like they will overseas! They were in all their gear in the back of military jeeps. It was hot for us in shorts and t-shirts. We finally understood a little of how hot it must be for them while they are protecting our freedom! THANK YOU to all those who choose to protect us!!!! FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!

Here are some of the tanks that are on display at the proving grounds.
The boys love the piccolo pete's on Fourth of July and we found a giant sized one!!! Can you imagine the noise this must make???!!!

Here is a picture of a bee hive that sprung up on one of the missile launchers. Ken didn't get too close to take the picture and the boys and I were running the opposite direction incase he made them mad!

I think this one is called the Johnny Rocket. WOW! Are they big or what?! I sure am glad that I am on our side and not on the receiving side of these missiles!

Here is a shot of a tank. Once again, I was reminded of the heat of the desert and being inside a metal enclosure....can anyone say, "HOT!!"? I'm not sure if they have A/C now but in the older tanks I'm sure they didn't!Check out the photo gallery from the Yuma Proving Ground website...some amazing pictures!

MEXICO!!!! What fabulous food they have! We always eat at Lupita's Taco Cart when we go down. This year we got to go there 2 times!!!! YUMMY! They make fish and shrimp tacos right in front of you! And boy are they good! I am going to try to make one at home but I'm not sure it will have the same authentic taste.

This is Lupita's brother making our tacos

After you get your tacos you proceed to the topping area where they have shredded cabbage, sour cream dressing, 2 types of salsa, and limes. Here is a picture of mine. I just put cabbage, sour cream and lime on mine!!!! Oh sooooooo good!
Here is Jacob eating his 3rd taco and working on his 2nd bottle of Fanta.
This was after he gave us a bit of a scare. His blood sugar dropped to 36 while we were standing in line for our tacos. Ken went and grabbed him a Fanta and we had him start drinking it. Then the hunger kicked in. It is God's way of making the body kick into survival mode when the blood sugars drop so low. Normally he can eat 1 or maybe 2 tacos but he chowed down on 3 today.
We stopped in Oatman, Arizona this year to let the boys see the wild burros. Usually there are quite a few that wonder into town each day to get snacks from the tourists. This year there were only 2 in town so they were getting all the attention and carrots they could eat.
This is a picture of REALLY WILD burros. We saw them in the desert just a few miles outside of Oatman. They were just off the road munching on whatever it is that they munch on in the desert. It all looked pretty dry and yucky to me but they must like it! As luck would have it, we had carrots in the car so the boys wandered out to feed them while I stayed in the car and chewed my nails hoping they wouldn't get kicked or stampeded. The burros were very nervous as the boys approached them. They patiently waited to see if one would get close enough to feed.

AND.........persistence finally paid off.
Josh got to feed this one. He is the only one that came to eat our goodies.
The others trotted a ways off and watched with their ears twitching.

While we were at Grandma and Grandpa's we played games.
The boys liked to try to beat Grandpa at Skip-Bo. They got pretty good at it, too!
We also had almost nightly games of Mexican Train.

Of course, one of the highlights is ROCK HOUNDING in the desert. Once again, did I mention how hot the desert is? And it's not even summer yet! That gets me to thinking about how the pioneers survived coming across the desert to settle the west. It is really hot in the summer and really cold in the winter. I can't even imagine!!
Exploring the mountain. They found lots of Rose Quartz and some Copper.
Here is a picture of an ocotillo in bloom. They grow very tall so I couldn't get a great picture of the blooms. Check this out to see more blooming pictures!

END OF THE YEAR....getting close

Each year at this time I get spring fever! I want official school to be over and I want to play (and have the boys learn without really knowing it). I also get excited about planning for next year. I like to go over this year and decide what worked, what didn't, and how we can make next year even better!

So, having said that, I haven't been as strict about getting all our work done. BUT, miracles haven't ceased! Yesterday, we did almost all of our subjects (we ran out of time before we could read our Geology chapter) and the boys didn't complain one time! I couldn't believe it. I think it was God's grace to tell me that we can make it through the rest of the year and finish up what needs to be done.

I am very excited about next year. We will be doing a Unit Study from My Father's World called Exploring Countries and Cultures. This curriculum will take us around the globe following missionaries, learning geography, science (different eco-systems of the different countries), art and music. I am so excited to be challenged by the true missionary stories.
I am looking at using Switched-On-Schoolhouse for math next year. Does anyone have any comments about that? The boys have been using ALEKs math for the last couple of months and really like doing the work on the computer.

FIND OF THE LIFETIME!!!! (well, that might be a bit dramatic but wait till you read the whole story) I have been struggling with both boys to get the multiplication tables memorized. Then, my friend Tammy told me about Timez Attack. I can't get the boys away from this! It is a fun little video game that helps the kids visualize multiplication. It is really working! Hopefully, you will find it as helpful and fun as we did (if you are looking for multiplication help).

Baseball Season

Jacob decided to play baseball this season. He played T-Ball back in Kindergarten but hasn't played on a team (he is always wanting to play catch in the yard) since then.
His 9th Birthday was May 9 and he had a game that morning. Friday at practice he told the coach that he would like to try pitching. He neglected to tell us this or we would have practiced with him. So, Saturday came and guess who pitched the first inning???? OUR SON! Whew! I was a nervous wreck for him. He did pretty good for never having done it before. He concluded that pitching is hard and a bit nerve racking.
Here's Coach Jim helping with a few pointers to get him started.

THEN, he decided that he wanted to try catching! Well, like before, we would have practiced with him if we would have known. He gave it a try and decided that catching is a bit scary and would just stick to fielding.
Right after the replacement catcher came in, he got his thumb hurt by the ball. That cinched it for Jacob. Yep, sticking to the fielding!

Jacob Made Lunch

I think we have been hanging around Nancy too much, as we are now taking pictures of food! Jacob was making lunch and he arranged the tater tots in this way and said, "I have to take a picture of this and put it on the blog!" So, here it is!!! Talk about a Happy Meal!!

Tis the Season

I know, you're thinking "It's not Christmas!" and you are right! But it is the season for TADPOLES. We have a tadpole nursery here in our house. God has blessed the boys with a water retention pond (aka swamp, mosquito breeding ground, etc) across the street. What a heavenly place for boys in the spring and summer. All sorts of fun things can be found there. They came home with frog eggs- thus the nursery in our house. As they were setting up the eggs in the jars and tank, they were able to actually WATCH a couple of the tadpoles hatch out of the eggs!!! It doesn't get much better than that!
Here is Jacob's set up. He put the eggs he collected in a small fish tank that was in the garage. Now I know why I keep these kinds of things!
Here is an up close picture of his eggs. It's kinda blurry, but you get the idea.
Here is how Josh set up the eggs he collected....He has them in separate jars for the separate stages in their young lives.
Here is the jar with the eggs in it.

Here are some of the babies that hatched last night. They are so tiny!!
Here are some of the babies that are bigger. He boiled lettuce so they could munch a bit. We will be letting these little guys go pretty quick!

Now, of course, the research starts. We know that tadpoles each boiled lettuce but I think they are going to need more than that. Google and Wikipedia here we come!

Vacation Update

Here we are at the Grand Canyon - it took a bit of encouraging to get the boys to sit this close to the edge - there was another small ledge behind us but it was still kinda spooky!

Our trip to the Grand Canyon was better than expected - except for the multiple heart attacks I almost had when people were not using the common sense God gave them. If you have never been to the Grand Canyon all I can say is GO! It actually took my breath away when we got the first glimpse. BUT the trail is VERY, VERY close to the drop of the canyon side. There was a lookout that actually was built on the edge (I can't imagine cleaning the makes my knees shake just thinking about it). It was amazing to be able to look straight down and not be too nervous. The park has done a great job of making safe places to check out the views but people tended to make their own lookouts right next to signs that said something like: Stay on the trail. Death may occur when people fall. Duhhhhhhh!
Here are the boys by a model of all the layers of the canyon.
Check out the cool cave God formed for us! It was amazing!
Thankfully the boys were very cautious around the edges and stayed on the trail. So I didn't have to worry (too much).

We saw a cute little squirrel. Of course the signs say "Don't feed the animals" but how could you not feed this cute little guy????? (I can tell by his "fluffy" tummy that we aren't the only suckers out there!)

And guess what??? The boys just happened to have sunflower seeds in their backpack. It was so cute to watch him shell the seed, throw the shell away, eat the seed and then look up for more.

In Psalm 46:10 God says,"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth."

Well, let's just say I was speechless (which is quite a feat for me) and boy, did I know that God was exalted in the earth when I gazed at the Canyon. The picture above shows me God's power. It looks like He was just playing with the rocks and stacked them up like that for us to wonder - HOW IN THE WORLD DID THEY GET THERE?!

These pictures don't even do the Grand Canyon justice. If you want to check out a really cool book from a Creation view GRAND CANYON: a different view is a great find!