Saturday, April 19, 2014

New Volunteer Experience

Some of my readers may recall that Grace started volunteering at the local animal shelter a few weeks back. As much as we wanted to make that situation work it just wasn't. The dogs were very big and very strong and not something she could handle. Plus it was not a no kill shelter so the circumstances were very sad and stressful. We took a month off and Grace decided she wanted to try again. This time we moved to another shelter in another county to try again. Charles Smithgall Humane Society seems to be a much better fit for us.

There is an adult cat room set up almost like a real home. There are cages to the left that are not in the picture. A certain amount of cats are let out for the mornings and then the others are let out for the afternoon. Plenty of toys. Volunteers can go in and sit down and visit with all of them very easily.

Another area we worked in yesterday was the kitten and puppy room. Currently on two puppies in resident (one in the first pic). After the morning cleaning is accomplished they too are let out to play most of the day. We can sit on the floor and play with all of them.
Next week we will show up during cleaning time so that Grace can learn the system of cleaning all the cat cages before letting everyone out for play time. She will  learn all the cat rooms well first before we move onto the dog section.
Luckily they have many small and medium dogs that Grace can handle and walk. Plus these dogs will either be adopted or stay at this shelter until they are. This is a no kill shelter. The dogs have a fenced in area where each is allotted 1 1/2 hours of outside free time everyday. All in all it is just a much better situation for Grace to volunteer in. She is looking forward to many precious moments of helping out. This is not to say that the other shelter doesn't need help and is doing everything they can to save the unwanted animals in our community. It just wasn't the right situation for a very tender hearted young person to work in.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - Easter Week

Sometimes it is hard to keep up with all of Grace's current passions. Right know she has fallen in love with our chickens again. Every day you will find her outside feeding, watering, collecting eggs and playing with the chickens. This week she even decided to learn out to clean all the coops. She wants to earn some extra money for a business venture she is interested in starting. So now she is the proud recipient of a weekly allowance. The allowance is for all the chicken chores (which takes a huge load off of me) and of course keeping her room cleaned and picked up (which is no easy task for any teenager).
This week we had the joyous experience of another Easter hatching of chicks. It has happened the same time frame nearly every year. This go around 3 or 4 eggs hatched. We didn't want to do big clutch because we already have so many chickens on hand. As you can imagine Grace spends a lot of her time with them. She wants this clutch to be very tame and we are hoping they are not all roosters which will eventually have to be harvested.

Hubby bought a new camera for him and Grace to use for their art. Grace has become quite interested in taking pictures due to the new camera.

Puppy of course is always a great model.

Our Cooperative classes are winding down for the year which means a performance in a couple of weeks. The high school kids are working on finishing the set for Fiddler on the Roof. Grace helped with the set and will be doing a lot of the stage makeup for the performances. She is really missing not performing in this one which brings me to our next piece of news. Grace wants to audition for the King and I at our local community theatre. Auditions are on May 11and 12th and will take up most of her summer with performances at the end of July and early August. Hoping some of her friends come out and do the same as they need a large cast for this one.

Trim Healthy Mama is going great. Grace has lost 6 pounds and I have lost 4. She is really enjoying this way of eating and is really happy with the results. To see results so fast is very encouraging for her.

I am in the process of writing a chicken study guide/lapbook for the company I freelance write with. Grace is taking all my pictures for me and the above pic is of our only rooster in residence.
So what did we do academically this week? Well we finished up with the Supercharged Science review and went back to our General Science textbook. The module for this week is about Geology, Archaeology, and Paleontology. We are also just about finished the Philosophy Adventure review and that post will be coming up at the beginning of next week which means we are going back to finish up our Middle Ages study for the year. So happy to be able to get in 4 Algebra lessons this week even though Grace is having a little trouble understanding reducing factions with exponents and reverse distributing with them same. The program she is enjoying the most this week is Micro Business for Teens. Reading through this book and doing the activities have really sparked an interest in her with creating a micro business. She has talked with her favorite teacher Ms. Christy about helping with birthday parties by dressing up as Disney princesses. This would let Grace do all the cosplaying and makeup that she loves so much. She will also be helping with summer art camps at the same location. It is really going to be a very busy summer for Grace and me for that matter.
I should also mention that Grace has started some sewing lessons. Her first project was a skirt that was finished in a couple of hours. Her goal is to one day be able to sew her own costumes for cosplaying and the micro business she is planning for Birthday Disney Princesses.
So, summing up this week our biggies are finishing Cooperative Classes, delving into costuming, makeup, photography and chicken care, getting healthy through diet and exercise and working on review products with some Algebra thrown in the mix. It really has been a good week.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Trim Healthy Mama Hits and Misses So Far

So far we have had very few misses with recipes on the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating. Yesterday I made Peanut Butter Cups and they were a big hit
1 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Truvia to taste
Splash of Vanilla
Natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon of heavy cream

They turned out huge and delicious. Definitely need to split one with someone from now on when eating. I also tried my hand at cheesecake and that was an epic fail. Of course I have never cooked cheesecake in my life so this may take some practice. Another fail (at least with Grace) was the Quinoa. I ate it but wasn't overjoyed with it. Tonight I am making some quinoa as a side dish with roasted broccoli, salad, and beef tips. Other recipes that have been hits include:

Cheeseburger Quesadillas
Crockpot chicken with rotel and cream cheese
Pizza Casserole
Chicken, veggies, quinoa
THM Pancakes
Sandwiches with Joseph's Pita Wraps

We still have a lot to learn but getting there. Grace even told me today that she feels better eating this way and off of a lot of the processed junk. The two things I have to keep in stock to keep her happy is Zevia soda, Sobe Life water, and plenty of skinny chocolate. Next on the list to try is Berry Whip.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happenings Around The Old Homestead

Trim Healthy Mama is still going great. Grace has lost five pounds in 10 days and I have lost 3 1/2. Deli-meat roll ups was our snack this afternoon. I found a real great thing we love around the house granola made with stevia and is wheat free. This way of eating has introduced us to some new things we either haven't tried or liked in the past. Two night ago we had quinoa with our chicken and last night roasted green beans and broccoli.

This morning the drama group finished up most of the set painting and building. Grace isn't performing in Fiddler on the Roof but she is responsible for make-up and helping paint the set.

Funny story, but only funny because no one got hurt. Last week when it was raining I was going to the church to pick up Grace from another set painting session. In the distance I spotted what looked like a black cat crossing the street. Of course if it was a cat it would be across the street by the time I reached it. Well, low and behold it was a huge snapping turtle taking his sweet time crossing the street. I braked hard and the lady behind me with rain as an incentive ran into the back of me. Reminder to self, next time run over the turtle. Of course it was very big and looked just like a tortoise from the zoo.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Trim Healthy Mama After One Week

I received my book on Tuesday and have been furiously reading through it trying to grasp all the concepts to put the entire plan into motion. One morning this week I made the cinnamon bun cake in a mug with cream cheese frosting for breakfast. Yum! I'm telling you the cake and muffin in mug recipes are pure brilliance. Grace likes them too but this week has been hard for her because on Monday she got an orthodontic appliance put in her mouth and eating has been painful and super slow for her. Yesterday things started finally turning around for her.

This morning I made the pancake recipe and some yogurt on the side with a sprinkling of granola. Typical granola is not on plan. I actually found some granola at Whole Foods that is made with stevia and oat flour. So excited about this one because I love granola as a snack, etc. The syrup is also not on plan. I chose to use IHOP sugar free because I am not a purist.

This is my second try at skinny chocolate with a little peanut butter thrown in the mix. So much better than the first and I learned from the online group to set in some type of container (I chose an ice cube tray). We did eat out twice this week because of crazy schedule and many doctor appointments. Tried to eat on plan when eating out and only failed one night when I had French fries. Even with a couple of slip ups and not completely on plan Grace lost 4 pounds and I lost 3. It is truly changing your way of eating lifestyle kind of diet. It really doesn't even feel like a diet. When Grace sat down to eat a sandwich in her Joseph's pita today, she said "I can eat like this on a diet?". I said you can on this one. Her stomach has shrunk some this week because of the mouth situation and I never thought I would hear myself saying ,"You need to eat more at each meal to make this work."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Learning to Sew

We have had three great sets of fabric sitting around the house for two years that were purchased to make skirts for Grace. I found out that one of my really close friends does a little sewing. Lately we have been meeting once a week to hang out. Now our weekly visits are taking on a whole new meaning. Today Grace sewed her first piece of clothing.

My friend was a great teacher. Very patient. Grace had a great time and was really happy with her finished product. We still have two more skirts to finish but now that we have made one the process will get faster.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

TOS Review - Supercharged Science - e-Science Premium Membership

Supercharged eScience Review
I don't know about you, but science really isn't my cup of tea. Now don't get me wrong, I love teaching nature studies, animals, and life science. What I don't understand or enjoy teaching is all the other stuff like physical science and chemistry. I didn't take those in high school or college and I am severely lacking in knowledge in those areas. Luckily there are other avenues for a parent like me to pursue and one of those avenues came up for review. The TOS Review Crew and Supercharged Science gave me the opportunity to review e-Science Premium Membership. We were given a six-month online subscription to use and review.
Supercharged eScience Review
Let's start with the basics:
Age recommendations are K-12th grade
Pricing for K-8 Level Plan is $37.00 a month
Pricing for K-12 Level Plan is $57.00 a month
Currently Supercharged Science is offering a Special $1.00 Deal for one month of activities.
In the beginning the Supercharged Science website can be a little overwhelming. Mainly because there are so many science topics, videos, and experiments to choose from. For the review I had about twenty different topics to pick from for us to study. We put away our regular science curriculum for the year to put our full focus on this program. I looked in the remainder of our textbook and matched up a couple of the topics we had not yet studied to what Supercharged Science had available. Before I delve into our experience with the product let's learn a little bit about the program and its creator.
Aurora is the creator and instructor of what your child will be watching and learning. Ten years ago she decided to create a science program that kids could really get excited about. Aurora is a real rocket scientist that actually worked for NASA. She has many degrees and experience with teaching adults and children.
Currently this program has over 1000 videos available to watch. The best way for me to explain how this program works is to take you through what we did. First we chose a topic - Earth Science, Geology to be specific. I printed out the downloadable files that include a shopping list for supplies, vocabulary list, text reading and lessons, instructions for the experiments and exercises. Grace read through the lesson then answered the questions that followed. Next she got to do the fun stuff. I bought a small kit with all the tools and supplies we would need to identify different rocks and minerals. We have had a stash of rocks/minerals sitting around for years waiting just for this type of lesson. Below you will see some of the experiments we performed. Before we did each experiment Grace watched the corresponding available video.
Sorting rocks to identify

Mohs' Hardness Testing

Penny Crystal Structure

Salt and Vinegar Crystal Experiment
The next unit/topic we picked was a life science unit delving into the intricacies of a cell. Again I downloaded and printed everything we would need. We watched all the videos about cells on the site. Lastly we decided to create a 3D model of a cell to help solidify the parts of a cell into Grace's mind.
On the site you will find lots of information to get you started as well as answering frequently asked questions. Below you will find other attractive incentives for using this program:
It is a safe online environment for kids to use. No links to take you to other sites. All the information you need is there already.
Kids can go on site and learn on their own without a parent needed to help. Self-guided learning at its best.
Step by step videos showing you how to perform the experiments as well as in printed form.
Teacher and parent guides
Exercises and Quizzes
Unlimited support. Just send an email with your questions or problem and get a fast response.
This online program is meant to be a complete science program for each grade level.
We enjoyed the flexibility of the program. Any type of homeschooler could us this program. An unschooling or interested led family might let a child move through the website and pick topics/videos/experiments that interest them. A family that homeschools in a more structured way could us this as a complete program going through each grade level at a time. Also students looking for great science project ideas have a plethora of choices. Another great way to use this program would be as a supplement to your current textbook or curriculum. Pick out the experiments/videos that match up to your chapter and it would be a perfect compliment. There is no way to cover everything this online science website and program has to offer in one review. That is why you need to be sure and visit many of the other TOS Reviews for this product to get a broad overview of how it can be used. Be sure to check out Supercharged Science for yourself and see everything you can learn about science through fun hands on experiments and videos.
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