Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Missing the Blog Life

I miss this space.......

I miss all of you..... 

Trying to find time during this thing called life to blog about it all.

Selfishly hoping you miss me back? sigh.

So many posts in the works. So many. I hope to be back soon, especially with a how-to-take-that-cross-country-trip-on-the-cheap post. Really. If we can do it, you can. Provided you don't mind schlepping half a mile to the bathroom with your towel, bag and clothes? hmmmm. Sleeping on the ground, a thin layer of nylon between you and the impending storm.............. It ain't always pretty, finding a way to see this beautiful  country of ours, is it?

In the meantime, just popping in to say HI! I miss you all!  For some posts of substance and awesomeness, go see my friends Tracy and Emily, who are entertaining, informing and inspiring, as always. If you don't already  follow them, well, then here are  two new blogs to love! Also, my dear friend, Sue, has began a marvelous new blog! You must check it out! Oh my goodness,  always something either fun, reverent, contemplative to be found  at Sue's!

Friends, I look forward to seeing you again, hopefully this week, in my corner of blogland! God bless!




Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just enter your email address here
so we can be in touch regularly!

Enter your email address:



You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Until next time,

~Chris

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Geology Rocks! 5 Fave Resources & a Recipe for Your Next Science Fair #5faves


Welcome~!
As you know, we're big fans of travel and outdoors and camping
and rocks and fossils.....with a husband who teaches,  has a passion for 
and background in the Earth Sciences and 
kids who are into any and alllllll things  nature, our trips and our homeschool,
in general, have taken a real focus on the natural sciences,
<< if not a rugged - Survivor ish bent!! >> 
So, our trips?  Yup sometimes it seems we're not in the
 twenty- first century on some of these jaunts!  

Sort of the digital equivalent of that pesky neighbor inviting you
over to watch vacation slides decades ago, right?
Though, actually, I always enjoyed vicariously traveling through
 those pictures and travel stories!!Maybe I'm the only one........

Recently, my husband and kids worked on a geology science fair/exhibition
at a local school and since they researched and displayed
a wealth of geologic goodies and resources, I thought I'd share.
In addition to the fun, perhaps someone out there is planning  a rock/mineral/
US natural history unit in the family homeschool and might
enjoy or benefit, right?
So, here goes............

~ 1 ~ 
Geologic Time/Paleontology display




With the help of a geologic time scale, such as this one at 
UCMP Berkeley, here's the display of the gems we found all over the USA.



~2 ~ 
Igneous display










~3 ~ 
Sedimentary display



Some great sites for kids in these areas:
Rocks for Kids, One Geology
and Science Kids


~ 4 ~
Hands on activities:

Mineral Match


When you're married to a geologist, finding minerals in your travels across
the USA is actually pretty easy < and fun!>
However, in the absence of cross country travel and a spouse who has en eye for
rock and mineral location, mineral kits can be acquired here.


Rocks/minerals to illustrate Moh's Scale of Hardness: 



Moh's Scale of Hardness do-it-yourself tester
Given a sample of each of the minerals on Moh's scale,
kids can see for themselves that diamond (#10) is harder than talc ( #1 ) or quartz ( #7).
You know those glass microscope slides that you use to place the
 item on that's under inspection?
That's what they used as their scratch surface.
While they were at it, participants could scratch their names, designs, 
or anything fun that they'd like into the slide.


 ~ 5 ~
  
"Dirt" Cups
If there's a way to work chocolate into a science exhibition, you know we'll find it!
Even if you're not "doing science,"  studying geology,
 you need this recipe.....
Okay there are a few empty cups lying around up there by the sedimentary display.
Here's  a shot of the dessert itself~~~
because I took none of the ones we actually made!
How did I miss that?? 
Please click here for the full recipe and pictures.



Recipe and photo: Food.com
And yes, it was delicious! 
Enjoy!


So, here are a bunch of our travel - geology  posts from the past summer.
If you're planning an earth science-y unit, perhaps there's a resources or two within these
posts you might find handy  ! Or fun!






I'm really happy to link  up with Jenna for her #5faves weekly hop!
Thanks Jenna! Go visit for more #5faves!

Thanks for stopping by and
HAVE A GNEISS DAY!

Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!
And one more thing:

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just enter your email address here
so we can be in touch regularly!

Enter your email address:



You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Until next time,

~Chris

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Five Minute Friday ~ GIFT 6/5/15 #fmf





Joining with Kate's tribe of #fmf writers over at Heading Home...
Just focus on "gift," set a timer for five and stream of consciousness.....go!



          Foggy mist breathing and rolling toward shoreline as dawn awakens our corner of the world.  Mauve and coral fingers reach from the east,  brightening the morning.  Illuminating the water lilies curving skyward,  the majestic mountains. 

The ever present,  rythmic swell of cicadas. The sun dappled sandy beach. The towering old growth pines -  they landmark our haven in the Adirondacks.  And have, for decades. 

By dusk , calm settles over the camp,  kids’ giggles and splashes reigned in after a day of memory making.  As day draws to a close, a regal Old Glory is carefully taken from flagpole up by route 9, where the constant swoosh of cars, the downshifting of trucks, wanes. 

Shadows lengthen from our island in lake’s center, stretching to shore.  Scattered lights pop on,  spilling glowing yellow stripes across lake’s surface.  Patterns dance and flow onto the sand.  Campfires are spotted around lake’s perimeter. Flames shooting;  sparks  snapping.  

Friendships form and cement.  A few staccato laughs,  but mainly hushed conversations over marshmallow roasting.  All the while, the aroma  of pine, cinder and promise weaves itself into our hair and sweathsirts,  ending a perfect August day.

This day, this gift, this treasure.
Like so many in our past and so many to come. Yet  unique and precious. 




~ time's up~


Come join us for others'  #fmf posts over at Kate's!



Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just enter your email address here
so we can be in touch regularly!

Enter your email address:


      
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Until next time,


~Chris


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"The War Room" ~ Because Prayer is a Powerful Weapon

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Matthew, 6:6

           Welcome friends!
           Can I tell you how happy I am to share with you details of a  <truly> life changing, soon-to-be-released movie?   Provident Films and Affirm Films  of Moms' Night Out, When the Game Stands Tall,   Courageous, Facing the Giants and Fireproof have done it again. 
        In fact, I frankly think, impossible though it seems, that  this  time, they outdid the impact, the message, the power, of their previous projects. Really.


                Before I start discussing The War Room, this latest production,  I must offer to you this clip, which is part interview,  part trailer, part inspiration, which includes several 
of The War Room actors,  as well as the Kendrick brothers, themselves, providing a bit of background on the project and how it came to be.:

*************************************
         One of the many wonderful opportunities that comes with the blogging life is the chance to preview brand new media in the way of book titles, educational resources and even major motion pictures.
          Just last week, I was privileged, along with one of my kids, who was happily untethered to a sports schedule that evening, to see a preview  of "The War Room" at a somewhat - local multiplex.   If the Kendricks' name is attached, you know you're in for more than just 
 90 minutes of entertainment in the form of  likable characters, a few  laughs and a mild sprinkling of depth. .......
             You just know you're leaving that theater after spending time with The Wow Factor.  You know you'll be challenged.   You know you'll ask yourself on the drive home how a movie could compel you to be better, to be more.  ...to change your way of looking at a certain life situation.
           And that night, walking out of The War Room's preview theater, all of our expectations were met...and exceeded.  My son and I were speechless, processing the characters we got to know and like, their struggles, their pain, their triumphs and their roads remaining to be trodden once the credits rolled.
         We cheered them as they turned to the Lord to beg forgiveness, patience, mercy. We identified when the Lord provided, but  in ways unasked for. 
        We wished we were real-life friends with Tony and Elizabeth Jordan, whose marriage is crumbling before our eyes and who eventually turn to God for strength and for the ability to regain their love for one another. 
        We were awed by the motivational, clever qualities  of Miss Clara, who , throughout the movie, expresses the need for prayer "strategy," as one would plan for finances, for education.

Let me show you exactly what I mean~~
 enjoy this trailer~~

          

It was a true pleasure and honor to preview The War Room and I'd like to thank Tristar and Provident Films for the opportunity.

Please join me in staying connected with  the latest news and social media
updates for The War Room on FacebookTwitter and You Tube

And friends, I know you and I know you'll be
 anxious for The War Room experience........  
Well, you're in luck because Tristar  Pictures and Provident Films 
have compiled a  state by state listing so that 
you can plan right now to bring your family to
this amazing movie on opening weekend, August 28. : 
Click here for locations and even for advance ticket sales

If you don't see a nearby city on the list, you can even contact the producers 
right  here to find out how to bring The War Room to a location near you and inquire 
about group sales for your family, friends and church organizations.
Sounds great, doesn't it? 
           
 Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just enter your email address here
so we can be in touch regularly!

Enter your email address:


      
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Until next time,


~Chris















Monday, June 1, 2015

Dear Moms on My Son's Soccer Team: This Tired Homeschooling Mom is Way Beyond Your Drama

Dear Soccer Moms, 

         Remember me? The "new" mom to the league soccer "family?"  
         No? 
         Well, let me reintroduce myself. Because it seems I'm invisible lately. And,  more importantly,  my son is too. There was a time when he was into All Things Magic. So that disappearing act he seems to be pulling three times weekly -  two practices and one game -  would have been cool. 

          But, kids do grow up and get a sense of acceptance and exclusion. Know what I mean?
   
          True, my son joined the team this Spring, rather than last Fall, when you were all assembling. Getting to know each other. Forming bonds. He was with another soccer league for the past six  seasons, gaining skills, having tons of fun. He departed for the higher level of competition in your league. Boy was he excited to get a spot on the team! 
          
          You see, not only does he lovelovelovelove soccer, he was super psyched to make some new friends.  He is  most gentle soul I've ever known.  He'd have been a good friend to your kids, you know. 
           Humble too. Compliments? He deflects them by replying to general, "You're such a polite boy" -ish accolades with,  " Thank you, Mrs So and So, but my parents deserve the thanks. They're the ones who taught me manners," and " Thank you. Your kids are just so polite, also!" Yeah, he's good kid all right.

           But silly me. It took me half a century to unlock this great mystery:  Ready? There's an inverse relationship  between  kindness and  high skill level  on the field.  

      Did you know that? Well, you're the ones who taught me this, ladies. 
  
      Thanks for the lesson.        

           Wouldn't it be an example of...oh, I don't know...humanity ? ...to show your boys about welcome, acceptance, inclusion? 

           Just a thought.

            Isn't that a benefit of sports? You know, the whole friend component? Let's face it, none of our kids could hope to so much as throw a rock into the same realm that claims Pele, or even  Carlos Mendes. Or any guy who even tries out for and gets rejected by any pro team within the NASL.  Let's just wrap our brains around that for a sec.

           I'll be happy if my son makes the middle school team next year. And it's not lookin' too promising, despite his increasingly strong presence on D. And if he tries and doesn't make the cut, well that's life.  Have you noticed that when he's on defense, by the way, The. Opposing. Team. Does. Not. Score?
           He's not a star, but he is an asset to the team, for sure. Even if he was dead weight...well, no excuses. Strong players and train wrecks on the field - - - - they all deserve our respect and our kindness. 
            Because, bottom line? The score isn't what matters. The assists. The defenses. The blocks.  None of that.
           Nope. It's the unseen. The unapplauded.  The small acts. The important stuff. .......this is the stuff that makes a life.
          So let's all get over ourselves, be  happy our kids are developing positive  sportsmanship, (  cough cough ahem) ball handling skills and ...hey...I know......how 'bout making some friends??  Novel idea?

         Maybe it's because I'm an "older" Mom that I notice the forced finesse with which you ignore my son, me, my husband, at games and practices. Moms, I'm too tired for this. I'm  beyond the drama. The cliques. The whispered discussions about the goings on at that last PTA meeting. 
              At this point, unlike you, I'm way past Judgey Mom status.  C'mon. If I can admit that I was once there, you can admit to still being there. Yes, really. 
        I don't care or even pay attention to your 3, 5, or 7 year old's whiney-ness throughout the game or her tantrums during half time. I don't care or look askance or even raise an eye brow to your 16 year old son's suspension because...well who cares why  or  your 17 year old daughter's talked about  pregnancy. 
            Life is hard enough - - - - - no one's family is white bread, picket fence perfect and anyway, who the heck am I to judge you? Sigh, moms, I'm just tired and way past. Way way past. 
           Maybe I'm used to  and because I've been homeschooling since 2003,  immune to  the  'Uh  -  how - do - I  - interact- with - this - weirdo' mannerisms when you   ask what grade my son is in or who his teacher is, trying to place why in our small district you don't know  this 12 year old boy and  wonder how I  must have gracefully gotten out of volunteering for school bake sales  since preK or all those Friends of the Arts car washes.  Then you learn that we home school.   
              Though if you went to church regularly, you'd see  my son and his older brother  on the altar and in the choir, setting up and cleaning up at   the annual church barbecue, volunteering for VBS at  prep week and as counselors for your little kids every August. They sold you a  bus ticket to The March for Life last  January and happily accepted your donations for our local Birthright a few times per year as members of our Respect Life Committee.
            If you went to library programs you'd have  seen him in craft and cooking classes and bookclubs, oh, since he was 2 months old.
         If you  patronized our  local CYO as we  did since 2006, when my kids were 6 and 3 1/2, you'd know him, his older brother and my husband, who coached  three seasons of sports every year. You'd know me, too, from quasi- managing my sons'  league divisions, ordering your kids' uniforms, setting up team pictures and trophy day.
         We haven't exactly been in hiding.

         So maybe, soccer moms, we are shunned because you think we're  "typical" homeschoolers?   Do you think we're elitist and superior? We  don't.  And by the way, there are  no "typicals" about educational choice and family  lifestyle. We're not your mainstream media brand of wacko, unsocialized, vegan, organic, GF, denim jumper wearing,  twelve seat van driving, Christian-fundamentalist, creationist, anti vax, anti establishment, scripture verse spewing, rosary bead wielding, mind numbed, Stepford Wife cookie cutter, homeschooling parents of 12 kids. Is that what you think? That's so far off the mark. I just can't even. 
        But admittedly, since we're rosary bead junkies who pray  daily, I guess we do exemplify some of your Catholic homeschool family "stereotype."  And happily so.

        Well, for that matter, I could pigeon hole you, moms of public school kids.  Your children must  cow tow to the institution, jump through hoops like trained monkeys, exhibit zero creativity, avoid drug dealers gunning to sell a baggie of white powder to them as they exit the bus each day, be little zombies  who know only how to fill - in - the - blanks, living their lives yanked by the suffocating vortex of a school schedule. 

No?

Really?

Well that's the inflamed consensus of opinion among  homeschoolers  about you.

 Not true,  is it? 'Course not.

  I do have one kid in a brick and mortar real life public school and I know what goes on there. Some of it, decent. Some, actually pretty good. Some shameful. None of it, fantastic. 

          I taught for 15 years in public school too. Don't kid a kidder. Please don't. I've got the skinny on the good, the bad and the ugly at the local PS level.

        So I'm not sure why the snub. I, frankly, don't care. I gave up caring about  two decades ago, what the neighbors think, you know? Maybe back in the 80s or even the 90s or early millennial years, I would have given a thought and wondered if it was me, after all, exuding some sort of elitist homeschool vibe. But I know I don't.  
         And hey if you got to know us and found that  we're just not your cup of tea, because, heck,  sometimes we're downright unlikeable....that's all well and good. Offering a chance is all.

          I do, however, care for my son's emotional well being. He takes it as a personal rejection  and it's all because you just didn't give him a chance. He would prefer to skip practices and games at this juncture in the season. Wouldn't you if you were 12? 

           Wouldn't you now, at your age...if you were being ignored, despite friendly overtures on your part?

       Your son missed out on developing a friendship with an amazing, sensitive, athletic, bright, intuitive, creative, fun kid. All because  your preconceived notions and your archaic formula for what-childhood-should-look-like got in the way. Your son would have been and  still is, actually, very welcome here for a party, a game night, a movie fest, a campfire. 

        Next season, if you  were worried about being pushed out of your comfort zone into hospitality, generosity of spirit or any of those really scary things you have difficulty with, don't be. My son won't be back to your league. 

          But we'll be thinking of you and we'll pray for you.  Our kindness didn't touch you and that's a true shame. I'm sorry for that because life is short and drama is overrated.

             "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."  < Proverbs 31:26> 
             Can't resist. After all, we  homeschoolers are known for annoyingly leaving a trail of Bible verses everywhere, right? 
                 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience < Colossians 3:12>



       
Waaaaay back..... Fall 2009




And you, my friends and readers-----you're the best!
The sarcasm won't be regular here. 
But desperate times call for...
well, you know.....snarkiness.
It's been eons since I've been back in my corner of the web.
Several posts sit in draft and 
 I'm eager to  get back in touch with you!
I've missed you~~
Thanks for sticking with me.  I'll be back soon.

 Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just enter your email address here
so we can be in touch regularly!

Enter your email address:


      
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Until next time,


~Chris