Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tootsie Roll Anniversary

I am a bit late in celebrating this day. The actual anniversary day is the 23rd but on that day I had not yet been to the grocery store to buy Tootsie Rolls and then we just didn't have time until today to celebrate.

Did you know that the first Tootsie roll was made in 1896. I remember learning that it was made prior to 1900 when I read the book See You in a Hundred Years as the author had Tootsie rolls. Today there are over 47 million Tootsie rolls made a day. We did not have that many -- just one bag and we still have some in the bag.

We melted some in the microwave and I will say that the book said 60 seconds but that was way too much time for our microwave they were melted and funny. We did get some soft ones and we made some edible sculptures from them. J made a turtle.

Mama made a snowman. I guess all the snow outside inspired me. I don't really have a good picture. Miss K was in her room cause she is not feeling well. Her teacher said that this week at school she has been in a "mood". I am wondering if she is teething.

The idea for this celebration came from Every Day a Holiday by Silvana Clark.


We read Silk by Adele Richardson which our library had. It was interesting to read. We did learn quite a bit about how silk is made. Here I am pulling silk a few years ago in China. It was a tourist thing.

I love fabric and Chinese silk -- just look at blog banner. So of course, to have some hands on time, we got our the Chinese silk that we have.

J decided that he liked the one with the characters the best.

He wrapped the silk around himself like the Greeks. That is what he told me. I guess we are combining cultures.

All the Tea in China

We are continuing our China study and yesterday we talked a bit about tea and Chinese food. Chinese have poetic names for various dishes -- Lion's head, Ants up a tree, and Monk jump over the wall. I remember a little place here the park here the church that served Lion's Head and we ate there once or twice.

Well, after reading about tea, we had to drink some. I have gotten rid of all our Chinese clay tea pots except the 15 or so that are my tea pot collection of various shapes, sizes, and colors. J found a blue and white tea pot and so we used that. I had to dig around to find some tea cups. The ones we used were small. We used some leaf tea from Aunt Becs.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Family Night

I had gotten some Family Night Treasure Chest Books published by Heritage Builders from a friend. We decided to use these to help us structure some family fun while teaching truths. We are working on Proverbs. One of the first activities was the toothpaste. It was easy to squeeze all the toothpaste out. Miss K really got into that.

and J did as well. Then they were asked to put it back in the tube and the reward was a $1 (our kids are cheap, the book says to offer $20). J tried he got a straw and tried to blow it back but he couldn't get all of it back. Which is like our words once our words are out of mouth we can't take them back.

Then we baked a cake. Did you know that it is hard to find a basic cake recipe from scratch in a cookbook. My Betty Crocker doesn't have any basic scratch cake recipes. I searched my email from a message my mom sent me the other year for a One egg cake recipe which is the cake I learned to bake. Well, we made that cake. Basically it was a J and daddy project because he was to understand how it is important to have instructions and how once you have done something it is easier to do it again.

Overall, it was a fun night and the Family Night Treasure Chest books did help.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So, sewing mama

I was cleaning out my sewing project box and on the bottom found a jumper that I had cut out. It must have been at least 2 years ago. I decided that the top was probably too small so I took the bottom and got some green gingham to give it some color and made a skirt. Miss K modeled it last night. She came home from preschool yesterday and wanted to wear her pink dress. I didn't try to explain to her that the pink dress was not a dress but really a nightgown. I figured we were not going out so she could wear the "pink dress." 

This is a jumper that I made before Christmas. The main body fabric came from Freecycle -- someone I know from church also on Freecycle--I added the yellow and green and we have a cute jumper. The pattern was easy and I have a some more fabric that I want to use for jumpers. Jumpers work best for her as they hang from her shoulders on her small body.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Grain of Rice

As we continue our China study, we read A Grain of Rice as a read aloud. It was a cute little story about Pong Lo a poor peasant who wants to marry the emperor's daughter. He finally is able to marry her when for his reward he asks for a grain of rice and that be doubled each day for 100 days. We tried to do the math and figure out how much rice that would be but I think instead we made a mess.

I guess he did learn something because at dinner he got out the math sheet to short daddy just how much you would have in 13 days.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Science and Art together

After Christmas, my mom gave J an amaryllis bulb telling him it would be a science project. It has been his project. He prepared it with some help from reading the directions and he has been responsible for watering it. I should have done a better job of taking pictures but this past week the flowers started to bloom. So now we are enjoying the beauty.

This afternoon, I know it is Sunday and not really a school day, but it was one of those moments, I got out some drawing paper and colored pencils and decided to draw the flower and by modeling it I encouraged J to draw the flower. Here is my artwork. I am not an artist but I am working to model art to him and the fact that even if you are not good you still try.

J added more details to his picture which is great.

Notice the bird in the tree.

King J

Yesterday, I made a crown. I had fun with some various scraps of fabric that I had. I think it turned out cute. I really didn't have a pattern. I think I would do some things different the next time but it was fun and something for the dress-up box.

The lost lost tooth

Miss K lost her first tooth. Did you hear my baby lost her tooth? First of all, I need to say that Miss K had a full mouth of baby teeth which is good considering that often children with Down Syndrome can have missing teeth, crowding teeth, or gaps. We knew that she needed to lose the teeth because we could see the big tooth (I just can't call it an adult tooth because she is only 5 and wearing size 3T clothing that is too small for adult teeth.) coming in behind the baby tooth. On Thursday she went to the dentist for the first time (I know she should have gone when she was 3 or so but we just got around to it.) By the way, the dentist said her teeth look good. She didn't get them cleaned because we forgot that she should have gotten an antibiotic because of her heart. Anyway the dentist said to just wiggle the baby tooth to help it out and if it doesn't come in a reasonable time, come back. I had no clue what a reasonable time was but thankfully didn't have to worry about that. We wiggled it a bit on Thursday evening. Friday, I was running errands and the kids and daddy were eating dinner before I got home. At dinner that night the tooth came out. I dropped on the floor and that is the last that was seen of the tooth. So we have a lost lost tooth.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Math Fun

For some reason math seems to bring out all the challenges in attitudes, behavior, anger and a few other things. I really do not know why. I do know that J wants it to be done perfect or forget doing it. That is actually something that we noticed about him when we met him. He pushes himself very hard. I have told him that I like it when he makes mistakes. I know that is not something that you would normally say but for him it is something that he needs to hear, to know that it is okay to make a mistake.

We had taken a break from our lessons and were spending some time just reviewing facts and doing some drill work. I have a book of math games so we have been playing those. Yesterday, we had the magnet marbles out and were working on the 2 times table. It was at least something different.

We are almost finished Saxon 2 and will begin Saxon 3. I have wondered if the work is too easy but I don't think that is the issue. It is one of those times that I just keep praying for wisdom and strength and maybe some creativity as well.

Hard at Work

I bought a new cookbook with my Christmas money. I don't think I really needed a new cookbook but I had heard wonderful reviews and so I bought America's Test Kitchen Cookbook. This evening I made Chicken Potpie from it. Miss K just wanted to "watch" and that is not watching me but watch DVD's so I put her on the counter where she couldn't escape while I peeled the carrots and then chopped the celery, carrots, and onions. She doesn't like to me left out of anything and so it was "Miss K's turn".

She did a good job peeling the carrots. She was quite upset when there were no more carrots to peel. I did allow her to stir the vegetables while they were sauteing. She knows the stove is hot and is careful.

She knew I had the camera and she was trying hard to smile. I know with those striped pj's she looks a bit like she escaped.

Here is the chicken potpie before it when in the oven.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Miss K can count to 10 though sometimes 6 or 7 go missing. For some reason when she counts in Chinese she gets all the numbers. I have been working on "how many" and it just doesn't seem that she gets it or so I thought. If I give her 1 cookie, she will say "no 1, 2" and if you give her 2 cookies she will say "no 2, 3" so I guess she does know how many. Today we were working math on the living room floor and so I gave her a math puzzle to do. I was impressed. She did a good job. This is one that came from my mother who saves everything. It was probably mine when I was about her age.

Ancient Chinese Book

As we continue our study of China, we decided to make a bamboo book like my friend, Jimmie showed here.  I tried cutting the notches with an exacto knife just like she has but broke the knife. I asked my dad to help and he cut notches quickly on his bandsaw. J tied his together and then got out my Chinese reading book and copied some words.

He has learned a few words and so he enjoyed writing those and adding some new ones. I think he did a good job.

Since Miss K was home this morning, I made one for her to write on. I put it in front of her and told her to write Chinese. She looked at the book and said, "yi, er, san" which is 1, 2, 3 in Chinese.

She did draw a bit on her bamboo book.

We will continue our China study this week. We are having some Chinese friends over on Wednesday so we will need to think of some questions to ask them.

Sorry, Dad

Miss K's favorite thing to do is "watch" which means watch DVD's. She has a long list of things she likes -- Bob the Builder, Bernstien Bears, Chinese, Wiggles, and a few others. Yesterday, she was digging in our closet where the DVD's are stored and Daddy said, "Miss K, can you find something else to do?" She replied seriously, "no, sorry Dad."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Great Wall

As we continue our China study, on Friday we read The Great Wall by Leonard Everett Fisher.  I want to make sure that J understands the history of the Great Wall when we visit. Yesterday, J was building with Legos and something was said about building the Great Wall. No, we don't do school on a Saturday but it was one of those teaching moments that you take advantage of when they happen. It didn't take him long and he built this.

That was neater than my other idea of building one using dirt and making clay bricks. Given the fact that we have about 18 inches of snow on the ground finding dirt would be difficult and do we really have time to make clay bricks. I think Legos made a much better Great Wall.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Story of Ping

Today as we continued our China study we read The Story of Ping. The sun was coming in the front window and so we decided to sit there. After reading the story, we decided to act it out. The Mayflower was out from the other evening when it was a pirate boat and we did have to use some chickens because we didn't have enough ducks for the mother, father, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins. It was a fun way to review the book we had just read.

We missed getting a picture of Ping in the middle of the ducks going into the boat. We started with Ping having his head in the water (carpet) then the man called la-la-la-la-lei.

We also read The Great Wall of China. I am wondering if we should try to make a Great Wall.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ancient China - Oracle Bones

We are taking a break from our normal history program to dig a bit deeper in studying China. It seemed like a good time to do it and also good for Master J to have some understanding of China before our trip this summer.

We tried to make something like oracle bones to write on.

The instructions were to use starch, paint it on a brown bag, draw on it with a black crayon, and paint it with brown paint to give it an old look. I used cornstarch and it just crumbled as we tried to write on it. Yes, he is in his pj's doing school. Most kids got a snow day today but we still did some school.

Next we are going to study the Great Wall. I am ready - I have my pictures from our visit to the Great Wall.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


There was no travel on our road this evening. We have not seen a snow plow in hours. Master J went sledding while Daddy was shoveling. It is still snowing so we will do more shoveling tomorrow.


I think we have seen enough snow this year. Master J has been building and digging tunnels and making a slide down the back yard. Miss K finds a place and sits or stands and eats snow.

I will explain that Miss K has not seen much snow in her life -- she was born and spent most of her life in warm weather. One of the first snowfalls that we had this winter I made snow ice cream. Our babysitter friend was staying with us and couldn't believe me when I said we were making snow ice cream. She did come back last weekend because they were forecasting snow and I said I would make snow ice cream.

Well, we did get more snow today. I don't think I will be going any place in the near future. Co-op was cancelled for tomorrow.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Family

My husband, The Texan, was born in Texas and lived there until he went west to Graduate school. He has Texan roots but has not been back for years. He does not own a cowboy hat or boots. We met in Taiwan in 1998 and were married in 2003 after I went west and did my Graduate degree (same city but different universities).

My oldest son, Master J, works hard to be the best and perfect which is good except when it frustrates him.

Miss K, you need to say that with a bit of a southern drawl which is how Nai-nai says it and how she became Miss K. Miss K keeps us laughing. She has long speeches and prayers to which we only understand a few words.

Hello world!

Welcome to my World! Here are some random things about me.

1. I love coffee - my mom can't understand that. She does not like coffee.

2. I homeschool my son and my daughter goes to preschool so there will be lots of homeschool chat.

3. Our family has spent years living overseas and have now been back in the USA for a year.

4. My daughter is 5 and has an extra blessing AKA extra chromosome (Trisomy 21 or as commonly called Down Syndrome).

5. I love fabric and sewing various things -- lots of quilts and decorative things.

6. I enjoy cooking.


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