Who doesn't remember making their first home-made volcano?

Well, this is what I would describe as a semi-homemade volcano, since we used a volcano kit by Usborne, which provided a ready-made rubber/plastic volcano model.  We started by placing an empty plastic soda bottle through the top of the volcano opening, with the top sticking out.  Next we gathered the "volcanic" materials needed, and Jeromy began assembly:

1.  First, dissolve red coloring tablets in vinegar.  You can also use red food coloring.  Then pour the vinegar into soda bottle.  
2.  Squirt about 3 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid into the "volcano."
3.  Place about 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda on tissue, wrap up tightly.
4.  Shove the tissue-wrapped baking soda into the bottle.

And in just a few moments...

A volcanic explosion!

This was really a lot of fun.  It took a bit longer for the volcano to begin erupting, we think because of the dishwashing liquid.  But once it did, it was really cool!  Jeromy had a great time with this, and can't wait to do it again.  Next time he wants to make the volcano himself out of clay, and he wants to figure out how to make the "explosion" even bigger and badder....figures!!  And of course, who am I to deny his scientific curiosity?  Having a fascination with all things rocks and mountains, including climbing and exploring them, who knows... I might just have a geologist in the making on my hands!

Space Lapbook, Phase 1: Complete!

It took a little while, but Phase 1 (the sun) of Jeromy's Space Lapbook is complete.  Here are some photos showing Jeromy's hard work and progress:

An overview of the mini-books and model of the sun's layers

These photos show details of three mini-books Jeromy made.

Jeromy has already begun work on Phase 2:  the planets.  More to come later...stay tuned.

Congratulations Fred...

Congratulations, Fred, on earning your Blue Belt in Mixed Martial Arts!  All your hard work and determination definitely paid off.  Jeromy and I are both very proud of you.  And now, time to get started on your Green Belt... no rest for the best!

Hope In Future America...

This is a piece I posted today at another writing blog called  Pictures,  Poetry and  Prose:

Share your opinions, share your hopes.
An interesting day for America,
but your writing can be about any
aspect of politics you want to write about today. 

The vast majority of those witnessing today's events, whether in person at the Nation's Capital, or at home on television, are going to see history made as the first African-American President takes office. But as for me, my excitement stems from a much more meaningful milestone: today my eight-year-old son has the opportunity to watch our Nation's past, present, and future histories converge in an extraordinary way. He will, for the first time in his life, come to bear witness and understanding of the very ideals this great nation was built upon, to see with his own eyes democracy at work. In this time of tremendous financial turmoil and uncertainty, it can be difficult to find hope for a brighter future. Today, as Obama gets sworn into office, many have discovered renewed faith and hope in "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." But as for me, my renewed spirit is touched by watching my son coming to understand what it means to be an American, to see the culmination of a life of public service and patriotism. And through this, my hope is that he will find within himself the inspiration to be a part of great change and prosperity in America, for himself and for our great nation.

God Bless The United States of America.

The First Snow...

Yay!  Baltimore got it's first snowfall this year.  It wasn't much, but it was enough to get one eight-year-old boy super-excited.  It started to flurry this morning while we were doing schoolwork in our classroom.  As soon as he looked 
out the window and saw snowflakes, Jeromy's face just lit up, and that gorgeous smile stretched across his face.  Since this might be the one and only time we'll see any snow in our neck of the woods, I figured we could table the schoolwork 
for a couple of hours so he could go out and enjoy it.  Like I said, there really wasn't much out there, but Jeromy was determined.  He scrounged up whatever snow he could, and managed to make a snowball.  To our loved ones in Alaska, Jeromy really wishes he was there to enjoy all the snow he wants!


This was today's prompt on The One Minute Writer blog, and I couldn't resist posting:

You find yourself somehow sitting next to Barack Obama on a plane, the day before his inauguration. What do you say to him?

"Mr. President-elect, I have to be honest... I didn't vote for you, but here you are. The majority has spoken, democracy prevails in the land of the free, and we see the vision of Abraham Lincoln brought to fruition in an astounding way. Many of us have lost faith, and I pray that you can restore our hope for a better future, for all of us here now, for our children, for our grandchildren. You're here now, the man the country has turned to for leadership, whom we've chosen to entrust with our nation's fate. And so as a patriot of this great nation, as the daughter of a great patriot, you have my support and my trust."

God Bless America!

TOMW Post..One-Minute Rhyme

This is a poem I posted on The One Minute Writer blog.  Yea, I know it's a bit cheesy, but it's hard to come up with earth-shattering prose when you only have one minute to create a rhyming poem.  So here it is....
Write a rhyming poem in a minute.

A walking goes time,
never of it enough,
to pen words of rhyme
that readers will love.

Are you not scared
of blank pages and lines?
For your heart and soul bared
how will these words define?

Space Lapbook, Phase 1: The Sun

We, meaning mostly Jeromy, has taken on a new homeschooling project:  making his very first lapbook.  For those unfamiliar with the idea, a lapbook is basically an "altered" file folder, or sometimes several file folders put together, filled with mini-books that detail parts of whatever topic you choose to study.  For more info, check this Lapbooking Site on Squidoo.  Jeromy chose Outer Space as his first topic to study.  Within this large topic, here are some main ideas he has chosen to research:
  • the sun
  • planets (solar system)
  • galaxies
  • moons
  • space exploration
He started phase one today, with me as his mere production assistant and data compiler.  So far he has chosen to include details of the significance of the sun, and to illustrate the sun's layers.  These are just a few photos of what we began today...

2 Blank file folders, folded and glued together... waiting to be filled with information!

Jeromy is off to a great start... stay tuned for more, I'll be updating his progress.

TOMW Post..

This is a comment I wrote to a blog posting at "The One Minute Writer," a really cool blog that I found.  Check it out:

What one moment in your past do you wish was immortalized in a photograph?

It would have to be the day my son called Fred "dad" for the very first time. Jeromy was about a year-and-a-half old, Fred and I had been dating for about six months, and one day, out of the blue, Jeromy called him Daddy. No one had ever taught him that word, nor was he ever prompted to call him that, but in his little heart he just knew it. He knew this wonderful man was meant to be his Daddy; even if I wasn't absolutely certain yet, he already knew.

Disney Adventures

These are some pics from our vacation at Disney World, this past October '08.  We had so much fun!  Fred and I have always wanted to go there since we were kids, so being able to take Jeromy was wonderful.  We need to extend a special THANKS! to Lotus, for without you this vacation would never have been nearly as fun, and not to mention so affordable!  And to Alli, for being the best "Fruitfly" ever!  We love and miss you both, and we're so glad we were able to share this adventure with you.

My favorite parts of the trip:  Seeing Jeromy's face light up when he got to meet all the wonderful Disney characters; finally getting to see and touch Cinderella's Castle; getting to spend time with my awesome sis, Lotus; the Rockin' Roller Coaster (Aerosmith rocks!); breakfast at the Polynesian Resort; Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party; Mickey & Minnie.... and so much more!

Fred's favorite parts of the trip:  the Hoop-Dee-Do Revue; watching Jeromy have fun; dinner at Boatwrights, 'cause we got so much free food!; the La Nouba show; getting pushed around in a wheelchair (thanks to the appendectomy done to him 5 days before we left for Florida!); the awesome rides...and lots more!

Jeromy's favorite parts of the trip:  meeting Stitch during breakfast at the Polynesian Resort; meeting Mickey and all the wonderful Disney characters; the Hoop-Dee-Do Revue; Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party; when Captain Barbosa shook his hand at the Halloween Parade; the rides; the huge wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon; getting to hang out with his Auntie Lotus and Auntie Alli.... and just about everything else we got to do at Disney!

Lil' Artist

Lil' Artist!

Photo:  Fall 2003
Scrapped:  Jan. 2009

So Handsome

Jeromy, this is just one of
many photos that take my
breath away!  You are
an amazingly handsome boy,
with your big brown eyes &
cute smile.  My baby boy, you are a
beautiful blessing from God.

Photo: Fall 2003, 3 yrs. old
Scrapped: Jan. 2009

Just us girls...

Thanks, Annie, for finding this photo!  My guess would be that this picture was taken when I was either 19 or 20 years old, at the Polar Bear Motel.  This is such a great photo... the three of us with mom, just giggling and having fun hamming it up for the camera.  There are times I miss having moments like this, with my sisters and my mom.  It tugs at my heart because I'm reminded of how far away my family is, and how many years have passed since this photo.  I miss you ladies, but you are all in my heart always.

Making Paper At Home

Jeromy and I had been studying why it's important to recycle, and how the environment benefits from it.  I found this really neat at-home paper recycling kit, and these are photos of us putting it to use.  For our first time we decided to recycle newspaper.  Here's what we did:

Step 1:  shred your paper into small pieces (the smaller the better)
Step 2:  soak the paper in water for at least 2 hours, the longer the better

Step 3:  fill "blender" with soaked paper and water (not too much water)
Step 4:  crank the blender, blend until you get "pulp", 'til it's like thick soup
Step 5:  pour pulp onto mesh screen panel

Step 6:  put cleaning cloth on top of "pulp paper," push down
Step 7:  use sponge to absorb some excess water; peel off mesh screen; place cloth and paper on bottom part of press
Step 8:  place another cloth on top of paper; screw top of press as tight as possible, squeezing out as much water.

Finally, remove cloth and paper from press, and let dry.... ta da!