Monday, April 30, 2007

4/25 to 4/29

On Wednesday, Georgia decided to make a family newspaper. After looking at one of the local newspapers, she came up with her ideas and started making some articles. Her newspaper included the local weather report and events and activities of family members.

She also decided to work with construction paper to make a pair of glasses and glasses case for her sister. She did a great job in measuring and drawing her design before cutting them out and folding them into shape.

The girls watched the Rock n' Learn Spanish video again and had fun reciting the words and phrases. In the evening, Georgia and Olivia watched a documentary called the Ultimate Zoo.

We also came up with a new game called Wetzel Ball. We played that for quite a while! Since then, the girls have had fun trying to make up other fun games.

On Thursday, the girls looked through their seashell collection and sorted them by size, color, and shape. Then the girls pretended they were at the beach collecting shells and making sand castles.

We also received the California Achievement Test results. For reading, Georgia scored in the 90th percentile. (she got one wrong) In math, she scored in the 98th percentile. (she answered all math questions correctly) I'm proud of her, and she was proud of herself, too!

On Friday we discussed Jamestown, and the girls enjoyed looking at some old maps of Colonial America. We also discussed the Spanish territories of the time. We went to the library. Georgia read some more of her Henry book, and we made t-shirts for the WalkAmerica event on Saturday.

On Saturday, we participated in the local WalkAmerica. You can read more about that here

After the walk we went to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. Mark was able to come with us, too. The girls enjoy pretending to be veterinarians.
Georgia is looking at animal x-rays

Olivia checked her patients' vitals and administered their vaccines.

On Sunday, we talked to the girls about charity and volunteering and discussed what our next project would be. We decided it would have something to do with animals. We made a change jar to collect our spare change for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). The girls receive magazines from them. Georgia receives the Big Backyard, and Olivia gets Wild Animal Baby. The NWF does a lot of work in animal conservation and education. You can learn more about them at We are still looking into other ways we can help animals.

Georgia had a softball practice on Sunday. Afterwards, her and Dad practiced some more in the backyard. She also played Age of Empires and discovered some new technologies. And she had more silent reading time with her Henry book.


On Saturday, April 28th, we participated in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica. I want to thank everyone who sponsored us and donated to the March of Dimes. We managed to raise $260 online for this worthy cause. Thank You!!!

The morning started off pretty chilly, but after the sun came out it warmed up and ended up being a nice day!

The girls each received an award from us for their participation. They were so proud!

Here's some interesting facts about the March of Dimes that we learned....

You've been helped by the March of Dimes if:
*You've received a polio vaccine
*Your baby or a baby you know was born prematurely-too soon and too small- and received lifesaving surfactant therapy to help with breathing
*You're aware that folic acid may help prevent serious birth defects of the brain and spinal cord
*You know the signs of preterm labor and what to do if they happen
*Your baby or a baby you know has been treated in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
*Your baby or a baby you know received the PKU test, a blood test that can diagnose a disorder which causes severe mental retardation

Every day in the U.S., 1, 350 babies are born prematurely. Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death. And it can affect any family. For 69 years, March of Dimes groundbreaking research and innovative programs have saved millions of babies from death or disability.

76% of their budget goes towards program services
17% is fund raising
7% is for management/general expenses

WalkAmerica $ at Work in Ohio:
In 2007, the Ohio March of Dimes is funding $200,000 in community service grants to local health departments, schools, and hospitals.

In Ohio, the March of Dimes is currently funding over $2 million for research grants seeking to unlock the mysteries of prematurity, low birthweight, and birth defects.

March of Dimes speaks for babies in Washington D.C. and in the Ohio statehouse, fighting for adequate healthcare insurance and improved newborn screening.

Thanks again to everyone who sponsored us!!!
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Last week we were all not feeling well. Runny noses...coughing.... But we are feeling better now.

Last week Georgia read some of the library books on geology. She learned about the what geology is, and things we use everyday that come from rocks, such as, glass, plastic bags, coins, pencils, and toothpaste! She also read about minerals, acid rain, and erosion. She also read about the rock cycle and weathering at

She also wanted to make a tornado in a bottle, so we tried making that. It leaked! We'll have to experiment with different items to improve upon our first model.

Georgia had soccer practice on Saturday. Afterwards I took the girls to Boonshoft for the rest of the day. They had a lot of fun, as usual. It was astronomy day there. They had a telescope set outside with a special filter to look at the sun. We also watched "The Sky Tonight" in the space theater and learned about the North Star and why it is so special, as well as other interesting tid bits of information.

Yesterday, Georgia had softball practice. Today it's soccer practice.

We also watched a human body documentary about the brain. Georgia liked learning about the hippocampus because it has her favorite animal in it. (Hippo) She also learned that hippocampus means sea horse because that is what shape someone thought it looked like. She already knew that hippopotamus means "river horse".

After the documentary, Georgia and Olivia played with the brain model. They put it together, took it apart, and identified the different parts.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, so the girls were out collecting dandelions. Georgia "dissected" one, identifying the different parts of the plant.

Last night, Georgia read her new National Geographic Kids magazine. She was telling me about the things she learned. She read about "cool inventions", "seven wacky facts about the world", amazing animals, how animals play, and an article on Jamestown. (which we will be visiting, so it was really nice to have that in there!)

Today, the girls and I visited a nursery and Georgia was naming off the different plants and flowers by name. She knows way more than me! She learns their names by playing the zoo game. The game has a bunch of different plants to put in her zoo. She also learns what biome each plant belongs in by playing the zoo game. And she remembers just about anything she reads! The girls each picked out two plants to bring home and to take care of.

The girls both practice math each day in their own ways. When we were at Boonshoft in the General Store (pretend store with play food items) Olivia counted her produce items, for example, five bananas, ten asparagus spears, etc. I also had her sort them into two groups, vegetables and fruits. She got them all correct! Georgia is always adding, subtracting, dividing, and multiplying different things. For example, when she was playing Age of Empires she used math to figure out how much more wood she needed before she could build something, or how much more food she needed before she could get another villager.

Olivia and I read books together every day. It's our special time, and it helps her with learning to read.

Some time this week the girls will write letters and draw pictures to send to a family member in the military.

Hope everyone else is feeling good and enjoying the occasional sunny spring day!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

This weekend (4/14 & 4/15)

On Saturday morning we had a soccer meeting and Georgia met her coach and teammates. She'll be on the team called the Flash, and their jerseys will be red!

After the meeting, Georgia went to her class at the nature center where she learned about native birds, and especially the bluebird. She made a bird nesting box, hammering the nails herself.

On Sunday we all went to Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. We had a lot of fun and learned a bunch of stuff, too. We saw a huge burmese python and learned about the otter at feeding time. We looked at fossils, crystals and rocks. We looked at the archaealogical displays and items from cultures around the world. We visited the mummy again, and saw some hissing cockroaches. (eeeww!) In the treehouse the girls enjoyed looking through binoculars and searching for birds. We saw a bunch of squirrels, too.

We stayed until closing...and Olivia did not want to leave!

Friday, April 13, 2007

4/12 and 4/13

Today and yesterday we learned some more about Thomas Jefferson. We read a biography about him. We discussed the Declaration of Independence, Monticello (which we will be visiting in May), the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, the Embargo Act of 1807, the War of 1812, the University of Virginia, and other notable events in his life.

We discussed the job of the President and Vice President, since Jefferson was both. We also discussed the Julian and Gregorian calenders...since Thomas Jefferson was born when the US used the Julian calender, on April 2nd. Later the calender system was changed to the Gregorian calender which added eleven days to the previous...and we now celebrate his birthday on April 13th.

We also read some of our library books on hippos. One book we read was about Owen the hippo and Mzee the tortoise who became friends. It is a true story, and the book had a lot of photographs of the unlikely pair cuddling and spending time together. They are in Kenya, so we reviewed a bit about the area, as well. Here's a site that tells more about them:

Georgia was interested in learning more about magnetism. We talked about a magnets north and south poles, and of the Earth's magnetic field and its protective barrier from the sun. We also talked about the cause of the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis at the poles. We talked about the differences with the northern and southern hemispheres in regards to magnetism and which way a compass will point.

We also briefly discussed DNA and the XX and XY chromosomes after watching a documentary on the human body.

Olivia and I played the card game War, without the kings, queens, jacks, or aces. It helped her to understand the value of numbers. We also played Old Maid, Go Fish, and Mousetrap.

Georgia made an anklet out of beads, and Olivia worked on a making a beaded necklace.

We talked more about chlorophyll and discussed doing an experiment on a leaf of a'll just have to wait and read about it when we do it!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Testing Week

This week was testing week for Georgia. She took the CAT, the standardized California Acheivement Test Form E Level 11. (first grade level)

Monday she completed Test One: Vocabulary and Test Two: Comprehension.

Tuesday she did Test Three: Language Expression, and Test Four: Mathematics Computation.

Wednesday she completed the final test, Test Five: Mathematics Concepts and Applications.

We will receive the results in two to four weeks.

Tuesday was also Georgia's last gymnastics class for the Winter II session. She passed the Rollers class, and will be in the Swingers class next time she signs up for a class.

We are going to take a break from the YMCA classes because she is involved in softball and soccer this spring. Afterwards, she will continue with gymnastics and swimming lessons. Olivia may be ready for a class, as well.

On Wednesday, Olivia had her class at the nature center called "The Songs of Birds". We started out learning about different types of birds and their songs. Each child was handed a toy bird that made its unique song, and we tried to match the sounds to the songs of the birds from the presentation. We also sang a song about birds with hand gestures to match the actions of the song.

Next, we learned why birds find a mate. We played a game with baby birds, and adult birds. Four hula hoops on the floor acted as four nests. Four kids volunteered to be a baby bird and sat inside the nests. The other kids used their hands as beaks and picked up some dried tricolored spiral pasta on the floor that represented worms, and brought them to the babies. After a bit, Olivia volunteered to be a baby bird, and the babies in the nests were switched for other children.

After the game, we made and decorated a pair of binoculars using cut paper towel rolls and string. Then we went on a bird hunt, spying birds with our binoculars. This was originally going to be an outside activity, but it was raining. We used pictures of birds placed around the room as our subjects for our bird hunt.

The class ended with a story about birds.

Georgia, Olivia, and I explored the nature center before returning home.

While Olivia had her class, Georgia started reading a new book; Henry and Beezus.

4/01 to 4/06

After the Latvian Eggs class, on Sunday, we went on a Nature walk in the woods to see what Spring was up to. (It was a nice day that day....not anymore!) We saw leaf buds, moss, birds, grass... we took some beautiful pictures of the girls, too.

Back at home, we pulled out Georgia's softball equipment and practiced throwing and catching with a mitt. On Monday, Georgia had her first softball practice with the team.

This week, Georgia read the book Henry and Ribsy, and she read and organized her Weird 'n Wild Creatures cards.

She also played Age of Empires and learned about some of the ancient civilizations in the game. She's learned a little bit about the Minnoans, Hittites, Egyptians, Greeks, Syrians, Babylonians, and other civilizations from the game. She's also located their regions on the map.

On Tuesday she had gymnastics class, only one more to go until the end of the session.

This week she experimented with her magnets. She even magnetized a spoon by rubbing it with a magnet.

In math, she reviewed time, reading clocks, and the various terms that are used, such as, "half past", "quarter past", etc.

Georgia read some more of the AKC Dog Book. And the girls sculpted with play dough.

Olivia worked on some puzzles. Each puzzle had words on them. For example, the Human Body puzzle had a puzzle piece for the head with the word "head", and the vegetable puzzle had the name of the vegetable on the puzzle piece. We "read" the words together as she put the puzzles together.

Olivia also practiced writing with her white board. Georgia made up a couple worksheets for Olivia to practice writing her numbers and letters. It was cute. Georgia made the dotted outlines of the letters and numbers for Livy to trace, and had extra space for Livy to practice writing them on her own.

We were going to go to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery on Friday, but Georgia was up late the night before with a sore throat. Both girls had not been feeling the greatest. So we postponed the trip until we feel better.

Latvian Eggs (4/01/07)

On Sunday, April 1st, we learned how to decorate eggs following the Latvian tradition in a class called "Eggs Au Natural". We start with raw eggs. We used a variety of natural objects to "stick" on the egg, using water as glue. We used flower blossoms, petals, leaves, and ferns. When we had the items arranged on our eggs how we wanted them to be, we covered them with dried onion skins and wrapped them in a piece of cloth. We used thread to wrap around our little egg package to keep everything in its place. Now the eggs needed to boil!

While we waited for the eggs to boil, we were supposed to go on an egg hunt outside. However, the person in charge of the hunt was sick, so the hunt was canceled. Instead, we made baskets from paper and decorated them. Afterwards we played in the Kids Center, putting together puzzles, stacking log shaped blocks, inspecting turtle shells and animal furs, and trying on masks of various animals with the other children.

When the eggs were finished boiling, we unwrapped the cloth and discarded the onion skins and various decorative objects. After rinsing our eggs we were delighted to see our results. The eggs were very beautiful with a marble appearance.

This activity was really fun! We want to do this at home some time, and try using red onion skins instead of the yellow.

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Sunday, April 1, 2007

3/26 to 3/31

For the past couple of Sundays at eight o'clock we have watched the new Discovery Channel series called Planet Earth. It is a really interesting series. It is a series of eleven shows (March 25th to April 22nd) that took five years to make!

This week Georgia learned about the Jamestown Settlement, reasons for coming, figures and events, daily life, what they ate, the Powhatans and Pocahantas, etc. She visited three web sites to learn more:

This week she also learned about the British Colonies and life in Colonial times, including; what they wore, ate (with recipes that we are going to try out), studied in school, government, punishment, trades, kid's games, and how kids were expected to behave. She visited a couple web sites and played some games about the subjects she learned. Livy had fun with this, too.

We also discussed a little bit about the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution, but we will get into this some more. (Thomas Jefferson's birthday is the 13th of April...perfect timing!)

She worked on multiplication and division, fractions, and time.

On Tuesday she had her gymnastics class.

One day this week she decided to make a map of an imaginary zoo. I pulled out our map of the Indianapolis Zoo from our travel drawer, and she used it to give her ideas. She also made rules for the zoo, had a compass rose, and hours of operation. It was quite cute, and a nice practice for her map skills.

She has been reading the second Henry book, Henry and Ribsy. We also received the Complete Dog Book for Kids from the AKC, and she has been devouring it.

We've started working on our plant unit. Both girls have learned about the parts of the plant and what their functions are. Georgia made a poster with a section for six plant parts in which she added a description of their functions. I also printed and cut out several items that we consume, and she needed to match them up to the correct part of the plant they come from. (Example: coffee is the seed, broccoli is both stem and flowers, cucumber is the fruit, lettuce is the leaf, carrots...the root, etc)

We learned what living things need and do.

We learned about pollination, germination, photosynthesis, etc.

We looked at a celery and identified its various parts. We then did a celery experiment in which we put cut celery in colored water to watch how the celery brings water up to the leaves. We used red, blue, and purple food coloring.

Georgia followed the scientific method to explain what she was trying to find out, and what she thought would happen, what procedure she would follow, and data collection.

One web site we found helpful in our plant studies is We still have more to explore at this site. There are also some fun game/quizzes to test your knowledge on what you learned.

Georgia reviewed verb forms and usage. She also learned some more Spanish words. She had fun trying to quiz me and Mark. (we also learned Spanish in school...oh so long ago) Her and Olivia watched some more of the Rock'n Learn Spanish DVD.

Olivia studied plants with us, identifying the different parts and what they do for the plant. And she enjoyed reading the book Oh Say Can You Seed by Dr. Seuss which tells all about plants. She completed a color by number of a sunflower scene, and was introduced to addition with beads. She practiced writing her numbers, her name, and letters. She also wrote "I love you"!

Mark likes to play a game called Age of Empires in which he needs to build a civilization from history, starting in the Stone Age and ending at the Iron Age. The girls always enjoyed sitting on his lap and watching him build his empire. Now its their turn. Georgia and Olivia have both played their own game. It takes a lot of strategy, and skill. They may not advance as fast as Mark, but they learn a lot on the way. For instance, they need to make sure they have a food source, water source, forests for wood, etc. They need to finance explorers to learn what's beyond their borders, and possibly battle a rival.

They have also played Petz and Zoo Tycoon this week.

On Saturday, we had a softball meeting at the high school. We met Georgia's coach and got our schedule and other important information.

On Sunday, we went to the Nature Center for a class on Latvian egg decorating. I will post another entry on this next.

After the class we went on a Nature walk. Back at home, we practiced catching and throwing the softball. Georgia's first softball practice is on Monday.