Fortress Dragons

Submitted by William on Fri, 09/07/2012 - 11:49am

Lava Ridge
Look: A big, orange dragon with yellow fangs, a red body, gray eyes, big wings, orange ridges on his back, and of course he is big and he has a tail of a scorpion
Power: Lava
Height: (if it was real) 100 yards
Weight: when it's first born 500 lbs, when it's full grown 5000 lbs

Water Wing
Look: Green spikes and feet; blue wings, neck and face; gray back of head; black eyes
Power: Water
Height: (if it was real) 3 stories
Weight: when it's first born 15 lbs, when it's full grown 500 lbs

From September 2012


Submitted by Eliana on Sat, 08/11/2012 - 8:28pm

We have been watching the summer Olympics a lot. We have been watching "Minnesota" win gold medals. Today we were watching the sport of "diving off a cliff." We were also watching rhythmic gymnastics. I am certain that I could do those things if I just had the right ball or floor mat. There are a lot of commercials during the Olympics. I learned how to sing the song, "I just want to be okay." (Did you know "tobeokay means 'Christmas' in French?") The first night of the Olympics were the opening ceremonies. Mom made Olympic rings on our pizza and we had a picnic in the living room while we watched them. I hope you are having fun watching the Olympics. "Go USA!"

Olympic party food

[this blog written by Sara with quotes from Eliana]

My Hissers

Submitted by William on Fri, 07/27/2012 - 5:44pm

(me) :D
(hissers) ):0 hissssssssssssss X3


I have three Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. I named them Hissbliss, Hisser and Hissy. Hissbliss is the big one. He also has an antenna cut off. Hisser has the longest antennae. Hissy has short antennae. To people who love bugs: super cool! To people who don't: super scary. The bug guy gave them to me.


The bug guy's name is Bruce. He does little presentations about bugs. He has more hissing cockroaches. He has cecropia moth caterpillars with little stiff colorful mace balls all over their backs. They don't hurt you. None of the things the bug guy has can hurt you. Except the terantula and the scorpion. One of the terantulas was crabby, so we had to hold its cage. The other one we got to hold out of its cage. Why would we get to hold the scorpion out of its cage? The bug guy also has giant millepedes.

I feed my hissers a mixture of dog food, cat food and fish food. You can feed them most pet food, vegetables, and fruits.

I built a playground for my hissing cockroaches. It has little hideouts and they like to hide. I built a big hideout to go along with the little hideouts. I call it climbers and hiders.


The end. That's a true story.

Fantastic Fairies theater camp

Submitted by Eliana on Fri, 07/27/2012 - 4:30pm

We colored our own pictures when I was at theater camp. I colored a princess. I colored a tower. And we made wings. And we made crowns. But we didn't make wands. They pulled off pieces of golden pipe cleaners that were on headbands, they put them beside us, and they twisted them up and then they became wands with little golden balls on them. On the last day of theater camp, we hided and then we goed out and showed our mothers and daddies our wings and our crowns and our wands. We sang: "Do you know what fairies do? We sprinkle them with pixie dust and make a special wish." The End. That's my story!

Summer school

Submitted by Homeschool on Sun, 07/15/2012 - 10:47pm

I think summer school is busier than any other school season. We are in the throes of activities right now. We still keep up piano lessons and we've got to practice some math facts. Then throw in swimming lessons, park days, bug camp, story time, summer reading programs, service learning, field trips, theater camp, Lego camp, gymnastics, family visiting and visiting friends. And that's just when we are not on vacation :) We've got to take breaks for the 4th of July, anniversaries, and family reunions!

It's been a really hot summer, so we've been trying to come up with fun things to do indoors on all those dangerously hot days. Our latest project is building the globe. We found ONE Ravensburger 540-piece globe puzzle on the red dot table at Barnes & Noble! Score! It's been a great project. I'd been wanting to get a globe and this looks to be a good starter. It's surprisingly sturdy. When it's all complete he can take the World Landmarks book I found at the Target dollar spot and see which landmarks he can locate on the globe. Fun! Inexpensive! Educational! And it beats the heat for this cool weather mom.

Southern Hemisphere complete!


Submitted by William on Thu, 06/28/2012 - 5:22pm

Some new origami!!!!!!!! Magical diamond! A genie lamp double pocket! Double squares! The magical diamond and genie lamp double pocket are made from the fortune tellers.

How to make them:

Double squares
Take a strip of paper. Fold it in half the short way. Flip it over. Fold it in half the short way again. Pull out the middle to the open side and then it will look like two squares overlapping.

Double squares

Genie lamp double pocket
Fold a square piece of paper into a triangle. Unfold. Fold it into a triangle the other way. Unfold. Fold the corners into the center. Flip over. Fold the corners into the center. Fold in half. Unfold. Fold in half the other way. Put your thumb and index finger in one pocket. Then do the same with the other side. Push together. Now you have a fortune teller. Push in all the pockets of the fortune teller. Then unfold into a square. Fold into a triangle. Then tape the top corners together. Then push at the other corners a little. If you want, you can tape a genie to come out of one side.

This photo of the genie lamp was edited a lot, but it turned out just the same!

Magical diamond
Make a fortune teller. Push in all the pockets. Draw a design on two sides. And leave the other sides blank. To use: Start with the blank side up. Then turn it so it looks thin. Then unfold it (do this quickly).

magic diamond

The end. That is a true story.

Alaska photos

Submitted by Sara on Fri, 06/22/2012 - 5:09pm

I put up some photos I took on my new phone (HTC OneX) while in Alaska. Darren's still working on his, so I'm sure there will be better pictures to come. But our phones do a pretty awesome job!

Blog therapy

Submitted by Sara on Thu, 06/21/2012 - 1:04am

I think I need a little blog therapy... our lives have been a little nutty lately! And I thought a monarch caterpillar infestation was enough :)

Darren and I took a wonderful vacation to Alaska for our 15th wedding anniversary. We got to spend some time with my aunt who lives in Anchorage, take a train to Denali National Park and back, see Mt. McKinley in all its glory, drive the Seward Highway, take a dinner cruise in Seward, and see a pod of around 14 humpback whales feeding (of which I took a VIDEO ). It was an awe inspiring trip. We would love to return sometime, hopefully sooner rather than later. In the meantime, we will enjoy eating all the wild Alaskan fish we brought back from the fish market.

We are very thankful for Darren's parents who had our children for an entire week (seven nights, which was "perfect" in Eliana's book). The kids and the grandparents had a equally nice week by the sounds of it. Well, if it weren't for the dog. He can be a true pain, but we love him. Hopefully we don't run out of people who are willing to watch him for us. I know it's nice for a dog with separation anxiety to be with his kids and in a place that's familiar. It's always helpful when he comes home. He is more trusting every time we come back for him. So we are even more grateful for grandparents who watch our dog :)

Days before we departed on our vacation, we decided to sell our van to Darren's sister. They were looking to upgrade their van which they put a lot more miles on than we do. We had been seriously considering downsizing. It seemed like a win-win for everyone. Only problem was, we didn't know what we should buy. No problem. We were going away for a week. We'd have lots of time to weigh our options and shop when we got back.

Enter the tax forfeited land auction. Sunday evening, a full 24-hours after returning from our Alaskan vacation, (the laundry was almost finished) Darren discovers that the land auction is happening the following night. Some of the lots we had looked at half a dozen years ago and decided we couldn't afford were now up for public auction (go figure). Should he go? Then he notices a lot on a small river that we'd never seen before. Should he work from home the next day so we can go check it out and do some research? Why not? We have less than 24 hours in which to make the decision. Long story short, we now own a 1.86 acre river lot in the city. I guess we'll be needing to design, build, sell and move into a house! That will take some time.

Thankfully, it's been a very rainy week so we don't feel too bad that the lawn hasn't been mowed since we've been back. We've been quite busy researching property, car shopping, catching up from vacation, and getting the kids to their activities (this week and next happen to be the busiest weeks of their summer).

As all of this craziness was ensuing in our lives, we also lost some really great next door neighbors. Our kids loved to play with their girls. We got to see them one more time when they came to get the last of their stuff. It makes it easier to move ourselves when we aren't as attached to any of our other neighbors. But we'll still miss them. The new neighborhood is, as William says, "a ghost town." It's got lovely curbs, gutters and sidewalks. We look forward to getting a couple kayaks and paddling around on the little river. Hopefully others will see the potential and the neighbors will come shortly. We will welcome them with open arms! Our house will be at the end of the cul-de-sac, which I hope will be filled with children before long. Otherwise, our kids will have lots of open space to ride their bikes :)

Three butterflies have been released, there are four chrysalises in the tank, one lonely caterpillar is munching away, and three babies were lost by a junior entomologist who hopefully learned a valuable lesson as to why mom (who was on vacation in lovely Alaska) makes him keep and refer to the notes in his scientific journal.

I should probably also mention that Eliana had an asthma flare-up this week. It's been a loooong time since she's had one this bad - probably before she started on her medication, which we had been weaning her off of. So, unfortunately, it looks like she still needs it. I wanted to mention this so that it will be in the record books. Maybe we'll find out it's related to seasonal allergies or something. I also don't want this bit of craziness to get lost in the rest of the craziness of our lives right now. Our family's health and well being is the #1 priority. The rest is all "stuff."

Monarch caterpillars on the munch

Submitted by Sara on Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:38pm

Darren and I got new toys. Our new phones can do some fun things. I whipped up a beautiful video of the monarch caterpillars we are raising. Follow their progress in the May photo album. We are on Day 4. Gotta go pick some fresh milkweed!

IOWA Basics

Submitted by Homeschool on Fri, 05/04/2012 - 2:37pm

We got our results! I've got to say, that seemed really fast! We sent the test back to the U of M on a Monday and the results were in our mailbox in just over a week on Thursday. Being one who likes charts, graphs, percents and numbers, I enjoyed looking them over. Nothing surprised me. I was sitting across from him while he took the test watching how he answered :) (Which was very nice because I could see EXACTLY which concepts he struggled with.) I wasn't sure if it was worthwhile doing this particular test while we were doing it because it took four entire mornings, but in hindsight, I think it's the one we'll stick with. The results are well laid out and easy to talk about with William. And we'll be able to compare his progress from one year to the next in the various subject areas. For example, we have quantitative evidence that math facts are his weakness (he is average *gasp*), so we can put more emphasis on practicing them, getting faster and more confident. Then we can test again next year to see if his percentile score improves. I also really like that he gets practice with the fill-in-the-bubble type of test which he will need to do eventually for more important reasons. All in all, it was a good experience!