Friday, August 29, 2008

Frog Stories

This summer has been very rich in animal at our home. We have had all sorts of "pets". First there was Crusty the crayfish. We found him in our yard and kept him for a couple of weeks before his demise. I'm sure he was on his way out when we found him since we don't live that close to water. He probably was really hungry to. Then there was Clammy, the clam. We found him at a pond up the road. There are always bivalve shells around the pond; most are empty, a meal for some animal. However Clammy was alive and had his foot out when we found him. Tyler fell in love with him and had to take him home, so we did. It was a great visual for our summer Apologia study of Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. We could see his siphon tubes and the way he could move. We also adopted a baby bird that had fallen out of the nest. It was way too young, and died the second night. It was interesting to watch him eat. You could actually see the food going down his throat. We brought home 3 baby frogs from the pond. They were cute but totally confused as to why they were in this plastic habitat. We only kept them one night. Their relative spent a night just this week. I don't get into feeding frogs, but I do hope to get tadpoles next year and raise them until they are frogs. We waited too late this year. We tried, but all we got were a bowl full of minnows, another "pet". Then there were the hornworm. They were my favorite. We have 3 other cocoons right now that we dug up recently. I don't know what they will turn into, but I can't wait to see. I hope to catch a Woolly Bear catipillar this fall also. We overwintered one last year and he was beautiful when he came out. Oh yeah, we also have several skinks (lizards) living in the garage and around the house. They are cute on the outside, but I don't want another one in my house.
Just the other day, my daughter and I were in the garden when I saw a frog sitting under a new corn stalk. I had to run get my camera. "Don't move," I said. She didn't and I got a great picture of him. I got really close and he didn't move. Bobbi said she thought he was dead, but I thought he looked alive. He didn't blink and I couldn't see his sides moving when he breathed. She decided to bop him on the nose with her popcicle stick. Still nothing even after 2 bops. Then she went behind him and bopped him on the back side. Still nothing. Well maybe he just died. We moved the grass strand that was on him for a better picture. Then I got low to look. Ah ha! He is alive. The little pretender. I could see his throat moving. Hmmh. I went to get Tyler. He loves frogs. He wanted to pick him up. I said fine, but if he jumps he is fast and will be gone quick. First he just petted him. Then he tried to pick the frog up. Well the frog had had enough. Jump, jump, jump and he was gone. I think he was a leopard frog. Boy are they fast.

If you look closely, just behind his eye, you can see his tympanic membrane, otherwise known as his "ear".


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Munchy Hatched!!!!!

Today has been the most exciting day!!! This morning while doing school I was just sitting with Bobbi when I thought, "When is this pupa going to hatch." The pupa, of course, is Munchy, and he has been this way for 3+ weeks. I was pondering what was wrong when I heard a scratching sound, like paper crunching. I looked over and what did I see but Munchy coming out of his cocoon. I called the kids to come see. He just crawled out and up on the side of the net. He was/is beautiful and HUGE. He is probably 3 inches long or longer. His cocoon was like thin tissue paper where he broke out. I was amazed and excited. I ran to find the camera. What a science class we had. We watched him over the next few minutes while his wings went from tiny to huge. Little by little he pumped them up until they were longer than his body. He is still upstairs in his net and hasn't moved since he came out. I have left the lights on so he will not want to fly just yet. We will let him go tonight.

Munchy's cocoon after hatching

Just hatched. Look how small his wings are. There are six yellow bands/dots on his abdomen. That is how he got his name: Manduca sexta.

Check out how big his wings are just a few minutes later.

What big eyes you have. His eye is the black thing there by his antenna. I don't know what that shiny ball is on his head. If anyone knows, please tell me. Just below that ball is his coiled up proboscis or tongue.

Hand some isn't he?! His wings are ginormous!! (is that a word?)

I had to cut the bug net to get a good picture. I don't really advise getting one of these. They net is too hard to see through. Next time, I will make one myself out of a box and some clear plastic for a window.

This is just before we let him go. Tyler touched him and he spread his wings. Beautiful.

Check out this site for more on raising Manduca:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Here are Bobbi's x-rays from Saturday night. Awesome, huh. We went to the Dr. today because she has had constant tingling in her fingers. He said it is probably because they stretched the nerves when they set her arm. Everything is just fine. They drew blood today to check calcium levels and her parathyroid levels. Thursday we go to get a DEXA(bone) scan. This should tell us if this is all just accident or something more.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Another Thought

Another thought hit me later. I realized how precious life really is. I try to remind myself of that quite often, especially when I get upset with my kids. I try to picture life without them, the feeling I would feel and my desire to have them back. That really brings me back to reality. You never know when you day or life will change. It can happen in an instant. We certainly didn't plan yesterday, nor did we desire it. However, it did happen. It could have been worse. I am just thankful that God is in control. My sweet girl had a hard time last night wondering why God continues to allow this to happen to her. I explained that nothing that happens to us is a suprise to God. He sifts everything through His hands first. Why things happen, we don't always know, but if we have faith in Him we will be better able to see what His will is for us. I told Bobbi that maybe someday she will be able to give comfort to someone else who is going through what she is going through right now. Only time will tell what God has up His sleeve for us. We must just be patient and watch. So the next time you get upset with your kiddos just picture what life would be like if they were gone. It will be a sobering moment for you.

3 Times a Charm

Yesterday was a loooooonnnnggg day! First of all we were supposed to be driving to Florida for vacation, but TS Fay changed all of that. Thanks Fay. So we did yard work. Now that was a great exchange, vacation for yard work. It was almost lunch time (really it was after my lunch time and I was hungry). Granny and PaPa had been there helping me dig up some bushes, but were leaving and we were in the back yard. Papa was on the driveway with the kids. About that time, our day took a massive detour that we are all feeling still today. Bobbi came screaming around the house with Tyler in tow. She was crying, saying that she fell and hurt her arm. I told her to let me see it. Well, Dr. Mom made a diagnosis in less than a second: it is Broken. I was calm, as usual. I don't know why I am able to stay calm at time like that. Only God can give you something like that. Granny wanted to find her a chair. I said she could sit in the van because she was going to be travelling to the ER. I put her in the van, and went inside. I grabbed her Teddy bears,(can't go anywhere with tears without them), turned off lights, locked doors and grabbed my camera. Yes, I said my camera. I learned last time to always take my camera to the ER. What? Did you say last time? Yes, this is her third time for breaking this arm, but I will talk about that later. We were sitting in the ER in about 20 minutes. God gave us pretty clear driving. Within 15 minutes we were in a room, but then time pretty much stood still. Bobbi got her IV which is the second most painful thing of the day not including the fall itself. Then she got pain medicine. Wow what a change. She was a trooper in all of this, but what a difference pain medicine makes. She went from painful glum to chattery happy. She reminded me of the little girl in the cell phone commercial who never stops talking. I didn't mind, though. Then little brother came in and gave her a Barbie doll from Granny. More happiness. She named Barbie Julliane. Then we were off to X-ray. She got to ride in a wheel chair which was fun, but then they had to move her arm to position it. Owwww. No amount of pain meds can combat that. That was the most painful moment. What was mom doing while the x-ray was going on? Well, Mom was hungry because it is now 2PM and I haven't eaten since say 8AM. Granny brought some peanut butter crackers, but I hated eating in front of my baby since she couldn't eat until it was all over. I did eat 2 crackers in the room, but still felt weak. So while I was behind that shield, I was cramming my face with crackers. LOL I had to eat fast. They only took 2 shots of her arm. Shortly after we returned to her room, the nurses were all called into a staff meeting. I couldn't believe it either. It took about 45 minutes of our time for the meeting. You see the Dr. could have been setting the arm, but he had no nurses. Bummer. Finally it was time to set her arm. Last time I stayed in the room and watched, but this time I was still so weak that I only stayed until she was fully asleep. They were also pretty adamant that I leave or at least sit outside the door. I chose to go to the waiting room and have some real food. My husband, Mike, came back to stay outside the door. The whole procedure only took 15 minutes and then she was awake. Groggy, but awake. She then had a "pretty" white cast; the only color choice for the ER. She was dizzy, but OK. They brought her a cherry popcicle which she loved. Her nurse, Amanda, brought her a little pink stuffed pig which we named, Amanda. It was fitting since later we went home to barbecue. LoL In order to go home she had to keep something on her stomach and be able to walk. An hour later she was still dizzy and didn't want to stand up. She tried, but it felt funny to her so she gave up. I told her she could go home if she would show the nursed she could walk. "Ok," she said. And up she went. We were discharged and went home to eat supper. We were all famished, especially Bobbi. She usually sleeps in a loft bed, but for the next 8 weeks she will sleep on a futon matteress under her bed. She has to keep her arm elevated for a few nights so it won't swell. I think she rolled over some time this morning and her arm was probably hanging down because she came to my room saying that her fingers were tingiling and her arm was itching. After getting her arm elevated again and blowing cool air down the cast, she was fine. This was the worst break yet. Both bones broke completely and sat on top of the bones they were supposed to be connected to. How did she do it? She fell while riding her scooter.
I said this was the 3rd time. The first time was when she was 4 1/2 years old. She tripped over something and fell in the house. Only one bone was barely broken. In fact we didn't believe it was broken until the next morning when it was still hurting. The second time was just a year and a half ago. She jumped over something on the trampoline and landed on her arm. This was a bigger break; both bones were broken, but still attached. They told us at that time that if she broke it again, it would probably require surgery. Praise God that it didn't. So 8 long weeks of cast for my sweet girl. Today she is a bit sad because she can see all of the things she can't do like play video games, have a birthday party at Crossfire, ride rides on vacation in October. So, pray for her.

Friday, August 22, 2008

This past Saturday was my mother's birthday. I won't tell you which one because she might read this post and I might get a spanking. She says she can still do that to me. Ha Ha Ha Anyway, the kids and I decided to make cookies. Actually Tyler and I got the idea after doing his grammar for the day. The picture we analyzed for nouns had a family making cookies. Well, I could almost taste the cookies and it was black and white picture. So, we make Granny some chocolate chip cookies. They were yummy and the kids loved making them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Curriculum

This year we are using a new curriculum called Spell to Write and Read (SWR). It is by far the most awesome curriculum I have ever worked with. My son, Tyler, is a boy (of course) and my second born. He is so different than my daughter. He finished Kindergarten barely reading three letter words. Lots of that is because he is just wasn't interested. Mom, however, was highly interested in seeing him become a great reader by the end of the year. That didn't happen and it was frustrating. He is very smart but not very motivated to want to read. (Math is a different story.) I realized that he is not behind. He is right where God wants him to be. Otherwise, he wouldn't be there. Everyone learns at his own pace. We all learn to walk and talk at different times. Reading is no different. It took a lot to get me to that point of understanding, but I am there. So I was looking for a new curriculum both for him and my daughter. Ds likes to spell and can spell pretty good (3 letter words) being that I didn't teach him that. Dd, on the other hand, is an awesome reader, but not that good of a speller. Good readers do not always make good spellers; however, good spellers always make good readers. I was looking for something that would incorporate spelling into our reading, both for my son and daughter. I thought it might motivate them both. That is when God led me to find SWR. I read about it(a lot) and was sure it was just what we needed. I knew it had a big learning curve going into it. (A big learning curve for Me, not so much for their little sponge brains) It is very much teacher led; not one of those "here's you spelling list, memorize it and we'll have a test" kind of things. It is for all ages from Pre-k to college. Wow, and that is all in one(two) books. That works for me. I did go to a workshop to teach me how to teach it. The trainer treated us as K students the first day and fifth graders the next. My brain came home with so many new wrinkles!!! I couldn't wait to get started. I could see, from this workshop, that this was totally awesome.
First of all it teaches spelling in a most unique way that uses most of the senses. It also incorporates the rules of spelling. Finally, a dependable set of rules. These rules don't fail and have few (very few) exceptions. They don't use faulty rules like, "when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking." That only happens 27% of the time. What about the other 73% of the time? Also it teaches all the sounds of the letters or phonograms (single or multi-letter) at the same time. For instance A doesn't just say /a/ as in cat for the first year and then it says /A/ as in apron later on. It teaches that A says three sounds: /a/, /A/, /ah/(as in wasp). So when the kids have a pretty good working knowledge of these 70 phonograms, they can read anything AND they can spell. It doesn't take long to learn all 70. We have already learned 31 in the first few weeks. Also, they don't teach letter names, only sounds. Knowing the letter names doesn't help you spell our write. However, the most amazing thing I brought away from this workshop is how much logic it teaches and how it sets the ground work for learning new languages. I can't say enough about it. They even have a Yahoo group where the writer of the curriculm, Wanda Sanseri and the trainers will answer questions you have. Where else can you get that? We started out learning our letter sounds (single phonograms). We have just moved into the multi-letter phonograms and will start our first spelling list in another week. We are also learning/reviewing cursive. Bobbi is reviewing. Tyler is learning and doing quite well. He can almost make half of the alphabet in cursive. I'll keep you posted on their progress. If you would like to read the Senate Hearing Speech given by the writer of this curriculum, you can go to I challenge you to read this. It is very eye opening. Then check out the rest of the site for more information on SWR.

New Year

Well, we have been homeschooling this year for about 3 weeks. We started on July 28th. Why July 28th? Because I couldn't get it ready by July 21st. LOL One real reason is that it is just so hot in July and August that the kids can't really go outside and play. They sweat before they get both feet outside the door. So, why not start school early then take breaks as we need or want to and finish early next year - when it is cooler. We finish school by lunch anyway and still have time to do other stuff like swim.
It is a new year so we haven't gotten into the swing of things yet. We are still on an abbreviated schedule mostly because I haven't figured out the best plan. Last year Tyler was in Kindergarten and his school time was very minimum. Plus, he wanted to just finish so he could play. That left more time to work with Bobbi. This year I have a First and Fourth grader, so I haven't figured out the schedule yet. First grade is much more intense than K, so I want to spend more time with ds. However, fourth grade is also more intense, and I must spend more time there also. We are working toward that independent work thing. I think kids should be able to work independantly, but each child is different and that independance comes at different times. I can see dd has come a long way with it since last year. I also feel that one of the reasons we homeschool is so that I can give that one-on-one attention. I want them to learn it right the first time because once it is learned incorrectly it is difficult to change. That said I want to teach them not just give them a book and say have at it. That takes time.
Another thing I struggle with is the clock. It is, by far, my worst enemy. I am a schedule person and if I feel I am off schedule too much, I get frustrated. That's not good. I am working on that. Lots of prayer.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Other Things in My Garden

I found this leaf-footed bug in my garden the other day hiding on a Morning Glory vine that was growing up some Zinnias. Isn't he cute. He knew I was there and wouldn't smile for the camera.

This is my first little pumpkin of the year. Finally. I have had several that looked like they would make it, but didn't.

These are my sunflowers. I planted them late in the season, so they are just getting their start. Aren't they beautiful. Next year I hope to plant a sunflower forrest for my kids to play in. Won't that be fun?!

I also found this little guy sitting on a morning glory leaf. I'm not sure what he is because I never saw him open his wings.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our Anniversary

Tuesday, 8/12, was our anniversary. My husband and I have been married 13 years. That night he brought me home a dozen plus one roses (13) and a card. How sweet.

Squish the Squash Bugs

A few weeks ago I noticed some tiny red eggs on my pumpkin plant leaves. Hmm, wonder what these are? Being the inquisitive person I am, I decided to just leave them and see. BAD idea. There were lots more eggs than I could see and I could see lots. So a couple of day ago I was checking on my "finally" pumpkin when I saw these little white fellows. What on earth are those? They look like something out of the "Mrs. Spider" book. I had never seen such insects, ever. There were tons of them in all sizes. Well, I left them and did finally research what they are. They are squash bug babies. They have piercing mouthparts, so they suck the juice out of the plant. As if that isn't bad enough, they also inject some sort of toxin into the plant that gums up the "water works". The leaves and stems die due to lack of water. Well, I have some very yellow leaves and some dead leaves. What to do?! Back to the internet. I couldn't live without the internet. (I could but...) I found a post that said to just mix up some soapy water and spray them with it. It will cause them to suffocate. That sounded better than some chemical pesticide. I want to be as natural as possible. So I tried it. Well, it worked like a dream. Now the ants are having a picnic on the dead carcasses of the squash bugs. The first picture is the babies hatching The second is of the buggers on my pumpkin. I have waited all summer for a pumpkin. The third picture is of the adult. I stepped on three of these and it made me so happy. No more eggs from them. Ha

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Munchy's cocoon

This is Munchy now. We dug him up and put him in one of those butterfly pop-up houses. He really isn't a butterfly, but I don't think he will mind being in there. We are trying to confuse his days and nights, so he will come out of the cocoon during the day. He is actually a nocturnal creature. A moth to be exact, and a big one. We are putting him in a dark area during the day and in the light at night. It might be too late for this, but oh well, we can try. He should become a moth next Monday or Tuesday. I'll let you know. Isn't it amazing how God made this amazing creature. He is a huge, green, juicy worm one day and this brown cocoon the next. You can see his proboscis. That's the long thing looped on top and what he will use to eat. They feed on nectar just like butterflies. Then you can see his wings folded under that. They are rather large, but he will be a very large moth; the size of a hummingbird. The his abdomen or tail. He can and will wiggle it if you move him or roll him over. If you look really close, you can see little black spots on the side of his abdomen. Those are his spiracles. He uses them for breathing. He doesn't have a nose. I can't wait for him to come out.

About two weeks ago we found this guy on our tomato vines. Most would think this is awful, but I thought it was great. Since the vines do not produce tomatoes for some reason, the hornworms can have them. He is actually a Tobacco Horn worm, (Manduca sexta). Most people, me included, would just assume that since we found him on a tomato plant, that he was a Tobacco hornworm. However, there is a big difference. The Tobacco Hw has a red horn and white diagonal stripes. The Tomato Hw has a white horn and has white "v" shapes on his side.
We named him Chewy II because we had one earlier in the summer we named Chewy. (We sort of successfully raised him, but he couldn't fly) Anyway, we renamed Chewy II to Munchy. He had two brothers, but he ate one of them and we gave the other away to a friend. This picture was taken about two weeks ago when he was really only about an inch long. He ate and ate, (like the Hungry Caterpillar) until he was about four inches long. Then he buried up in the dirt in our little habitat and pupated. That means he made a cocoon. We can't wait for him to come out and play.

First Blog!!

I am happy to say that this is my first blog!!! Yeah! I hope to fill it with stuff about my life and the things I love. We are a homeschooling family with two children, first grade and fourth, so there will be lots of stuff about the things we learn. I am also a nature lover and a avid photographer. I love to take pictures of my garden and the awesome things I find there. I hope you will stick with me as I learn about this new world of blogging.


About This Blog

Welcome to my blog. I am a homeschooling mom to two wonderful children. I love science and photography and often combine the two. I am an ultra conservative Christian and have been married to my wonderful hubby for 14 years.

One of my favorite Lapbooking sites


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