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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Outdoor Survival Birthday party

We did not have a school day on Friday. We did however run from one end of Fayetteville to the other trying to get everything for the Outdoor Survival Birthday party for my soon to be 12 year old Army guy! The disappointing errand for both of us is that the Army recruiters were closed for training on Friday‘s. Bummer, we were hoping for freebies for the goodie bags and maybe some spare posters for JD’s room.

This party was intended to be a sleep over party in the new tent outside but neither of the two boys we invited to sleep over were able to stay the night.

The first activity we did was decode the message to move to the next step. Each step was leading them to locate the “lost man” (mannequin) outdoors. I briefed the troops inside and sent them to the tent outside for the first clue. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd clues sent them to the porch, mailbox, and two pine trees in our yard for the next clue. (Each person went to a different location at a different time.) The 4th clue said "I am under the back porch, in the neighbor’s yard, or by the burn pit." (Again, each person had a different location.) The 5th and final clue was attached to the collar of the mannequin and read, "Take me to the driveway and we’ll be rescued." This was a super fun activity for all of them. They were running around the yard like a bunch of chickens. Two other children were writing their clues out while JD kept all the letters in his head. JD was the first child to locate his mannequin. He carried his guy to me and threw him at my feet. I said, “Did you decode the clue?” When he figured in out he ran with G.I. Joe and tossed him on the driveway. The winner had first pick of which MRE to eat. With only 2 hamburger MRE’s winning this game was important.

Next, we assembled the marshmallow guns. I watched a video earlier in the week where some guy showed us step by step how to build PVC pipe marshmallow guns. Once we had the guns assembled the troops were allowed to run the yard shooting one another. Then, I called them over for target practice. The winner of this activity would have second choice of the remaining MRE’s. They each shot 5 marshmallows. There was a tie between JD and another boy. There was a shoot off to determine the winner. JD won but since he’d won 1st choice during the last activity so we decided the other boy would be the winner of that activity.

I was waiting for the sun to go down before we did the bonfire. It’s very dry here in North Carolina and many wild fires have been started. The last thing I needed was a fine slapped on us for a fire. The sun was sure taking it’s time going down so I had the troops run their explosive boxes for point A to point B and back to point A. I had rocks in boxes labeled explosives. This was a much needed activity because the troops were WIRED! We finally had our third winner for MRE choices AND all troops slowed down a bit. (Whew.) Anyone who knows about our birthday parties knows I’m all over the place. But keeping up with 12 year olds is much harder.

Once they selected their MRE’s I took them and hid them on the wooded trail behind our house. I explained that I was about to cook the MRE’s but the enemy came in and took them. I chased them as far as I could through the woods, but never retrieved the meals. JD took over and said, “Everybody follow me!“ They located all but one right at the beginning of the trail. The troops got a kick out of how the heater packet works to heat their food. They all finally sat down in the tent and ate their MRE’s. Jeff, being the wonderful husband he is, ran up to KFC for the adults and grabbed us a bucket of chicken and some sides. I finally get to sit down too. (Whew!)

The sun finally went down enough to have the bonfire. That was “cool” because I bought some fire colors to drop in the fire. Jeff built a smaller fire for the troops so they could cook smores. That was a real hit. (No firemen showed up to fine us.)

The troops came in and opened presents and looked in their goodie bags for reflector lights, small flashlights, and glow sticks to play with on the trampoline.

Jeff found the perfect cake at Food Lion. It was camouflaged. I bought a pack of 24 green candles. Of course this year I had to use HALF of the pack. That makes me sad that my “little boy” is growing up.

So overall it was a great party. Not as elaborate as one’s in the past, but fun nonetheless.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A migraine day

Today was another migraine day. (99% of that was because I cried on and off all day.)

Similar to the one I ordered
On Tuesday my mom called me telling me my grandmother was not doing well and she and my dad were flying to Massachusetts. A couple of months ago Nana fell and broke her hip. After her surgery she was moved to a Rehabilitation Home. I guess she became stubborn about eating and drinking. (What? My family stubborn?) Anyway, I began praying Tuesday at around 2 pm. I was not praying for her health to miraculously turn around; after all she’s in her late 80’s. I was praying for her eternal salvation. Around 9 pm Tuesday my mom called and asked if I had been praying. I told her “yes” and the reason behind my prayers. My mom said my grandmother was sitting up in her bed eating, drinking, and laughing (smile.) I got another call Wednesday saying she did not wake up all day. Today I got the dreaded call; my grandmother passed away at 8 am today.

The devotion today told us the difference between a mistake and a sin. It is possible to make a mistake and not sin. They would be things like: forgetting a person’s name, hurting someone’s feelings without meaning to, or losing a field trip permission slip. It is also possible to sin without making a mistake. They would be things like: calling someone a name, meaning to hurt someone’s feelings, or hiding a permission slip because they didn’t want to go. To fix a mistake we simply have to apologize and not feel guilty or ashamed. When we sin, we should feel guilty or remorseful. We then need to admit our mistake, ask God to forgive us, correct any effects of our sin, and choose to make better choices. God doesn’t expect us never to make mistakes, but be does command us to avoid sin.

In the AWANA book today JD learned that because of the Lord Jesus Christ, he is loved. He only memorized Romans 5:8 today. Then, there was a code to follow to get answers to blanks spots. It said, “You can’t even imagine how much the Lord Jesus Christ loves you. Remember this when you’re at school, church, home, at the dentist, on vacation.”

Today’s math lesson was designed to be easy but I think we made it harder than it needed to be. It was finding the correct way to set up a proportion and solving the equation to find the missing percent from word problems. Our problem was setting up the proportions incorrectly. They kept asking three basic questions. For example “What is 30% of 60?” and “28 is what percent of 140?” and “54 is 60% of what number?” Each question has it’s own proportion. I know some of you are thinking it’s not that hard, but for me it is terribly difficult. JD seemed to get it much easier than I did. He scored a 90% on the quiz.

Even though I didn’t feel like cleaning today I still had a commitment to follow through with. I cleaned and came home to Sarah cooking dinner for us. (Thanks so much Sarah.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another good full day

Today we accomplished another good full day. We completed all of our lessons. I even worked in another independant writing assignment.

The devotion was about a girl playing soccer and she nearly made the game winning goal. But she missed and lost control over her behavior. She even cussed. She apologized to her mom and her coach. Her mom reassured the girl that she loved her, but was disappointed, and more importantly forgave the girl. When we do something wrong we need to know God still loves us and is willing to forgive us. We just have to admit our mistake and ask for forgiveness. Then, trust him to help us make the right decision next time.

JD worked his tail off in the AWANA book today. He had to tell two people (Sarah and me) four reasons how he know the bible is true with four backup verses; as well as four things he needs to know about God with another four back up verses. (That’s eight reasons and eight backup verses.) And he recited the verses like a pro. He’s not ready for the Bible Bee yet, but well on his way. Then, he learned that Christ became a man so He could do what God had planned. Then, he memorized another two bible verses to back up that statement.

The math lesson today was fairly easy. It was all about circle graphs. First, it had JD mark the circle similar to a clock. The marks are 100%/0%, 25%, 50%, and 75%. Then, it had him place marks halfway between those four marks. They were 12.5%, 37.5%, 62.5%, and 87.5%. That way it will, be easy to tell what percent of a circle graph is covered. JD learned it very quickly. He scored a 90% on the quiz.

The language arts lesson was designed on the fly. It started because JD offered me a pencil that was wedged between his big toe and the one next to it. This after he ran around in the dog yard barefooted. I told him that was gross! (Can you imagine grasping that pencil with your hands and then rubbing your face? Gross!) He laughed about and I became infuriated. I quickly sent him to his room for safety reasons. When I called him back out he apologized and we made four lists on a piece of paper. They were named: boys like, girls like, boys do, and girls don’t. From that list I had him write five sentences about boys and five sentences about girls. He wrote…(Warning – some words/entries may offend you, but I wanted him to realize his behavior, at times, is disgusting and inappropriate to me as a woman.)
Boys and girls are very different
Boys like dogs and video games. Boys like action figures, explosions, and war. Boys like to pick their noses. Boys like to fart and burp. Boys like to play with slugs and snakes.
Girls like cats, diamonds, and dolls. Girls don’t like picking their noses, burping, or farting. Girls don’t like sitting in pee. Girls don’t like untamed boys like Mowgle.

I was reaching for and engaging and real world science lesson today. So I went back to NC Department of Education to see what 6th grade students in public school are learning this year. Turns out electricity and energy is a big study. I have touched on some forms of energy but not electricity. So we went out and did a meter reading from the side of our house. It didn’t look like the lesson showed a picture of so we just wrote the five digit number on the meter. We’ll go back out tomorrow to see how much electricity we used in one day. Then, I called our electric company and asked if they had anything on their webpage that shows how much appliances in our house cost per month. She said, “No, but I can mail you a sheet.” Then, I googled the exact phrase she used and found a chart. If the cost of Kilowatts Per Hour (kWh) is $0.078 then our AC alone is $70 per month. Anyone that knows Jeff knows the AC gets overworked here, so that number is probable larger. We looked at typical wattage, est. hours used per month, est. monthly kWh, and cost per month at $0.078. It was amazing to see what appliances burn the most kWh. For example: digital clock (3 kWh), AC (4500 kWh), clothes dryer (5000 kWh), and a coffee pot (1165 kWh). Ok so I picked on Jeff now I’ll pick on myself. That coffee pot has been replaced in the last year because I drink so much coffee. That pot stays on for nearly 12 hours a day. Sad I know. (What will I do in Europe?)

For social studies today we did a quick review of Scotland’s fast facts. First, we learned geography and the surrounding bodies of water. Then things like religion, currency, languages, and main cities. Here‘s a few interesting facts: there are 790 islands near Scotland and only 130 are inhabited, the official animal of Scotland is the unicorn (too much Scottish whiskey?), and a year JD will not forget is 1999. In 1999, Scotland elected its own parliament. Did you know the inventions of TVs, telephones, and video cassette recorders came from Scotland?

JD struggled to read his book Hoot. He desperately wants to see that movie.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A good day

Today was a good day.  I'm amazed at how well JD is doing on his independant writing assignments.  It's been considerable easier since he's been taking vitamins. 

The devotion today was about the umbrella of God’s protection. It asked JD to send two friends out in the rain. The instructions were to send one with an umbrella and one without an umbrella. The experiment was to see which one would get the wettest. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the answer to that question. Nor does it take a rocket scientist to figure out that under the safety of God’s umbrella is the safest place for us to remain in life. Following His commands saves us from the unpleasant consequences of breaking a command.

Today in the AWANA book JD learned that God cares about him. He memorized three verses to back up that statement. Then, he had an AWANA challenge to write his testimony. I combined this lesson with language arts. The testimony page in the AWANA book had questions to prompt JD about what to write. He wrote: I was saved in Jan 2007. My mom and dad were with me. I got saved because I felt like I needed to. I wanted to be like my parents. (Three reasons he is glad he knows Christ as his savior.) 1.) Because I get to tell others about Christ. 2.) Because I am going to go to heaven to see Jesus. 3.) Because I am a child of God.

Next I gave him a very short writing assignment for a card came in the mail for our sponsor child in Africa. I had him write a short message to Happy on a pre-made Easter card that we just mail back to them after signing it.

Good news for JD…David, the AWANA missionary, wrote back to JD. He was very encouraging and I think having a “younger” guy telling him how to cope with the parts of the AWANA program he doesn’t like was helpful. David compared game time to pizza. He said, “Pizza is fun and tastes good, but you can’t live off pizza. (Bummer!)” Then he said, “Maybe council time is more like broccoli. It may not taste as good, but it’s really important to keep us healthy and over time maybe you start to enjoy it.” He also suggested JD say a prayer to God before AWANA’s to “stay focused on what you can teach me during the lesson. It’s hard to pay attention, but help me eat my broccoli.” (I like this guy!) I showed JD how the letter was signed…“Your missionary and friend”

The T4L website is finally closing out our math quizzes. Thank goodness. It was getting confusing for both of us to figure out where we left off and where to start. I had to go back and complete one quiz so it would close out the whole section. Today’s lesson was about changing a percentage to a decimal and back again. Then from a percent to a fraction to a percentage and back again. Why can’t I recall this information from last year. Typically, if it didn’t happen yesterday I can’t remember it. But let it be some stupid trivia like the number of noses a slug has, the first UPC label on a product, or the letters on a zipper and I can commit that to memory. (By the way…4…Wrigley’s gum, and YKK.)

Unfortunately, because of my routine doctor appointment for a medication renewal, we did not do science or social studies today.

JD read the book Hoot for his required 30 minutes. He keeps begging to watch the movie and I said, “Not until you finish that book. Once you finish we can utilize school time to watch the movie.”

After my afternoon doctor's appointment JD and I went toWal-Greens get passport pictures for my international driver's licence.  (We're going to Europe you know?) Thank you Lyndell. (Smile)  I also pick up a Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc supplement.  We'll see if that tackles the hyper activity and impulsive behaviors like the research  shows. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

President's Day - no school

Today was President's Day.  Jeff was off work today so I let JD have this holiday.