Sunday, June 27, 2010


Alex and I got back from our 8 day trip to New Mexico this afternoon. We had a wonderful time and it was hard to leave! But, we have a busy week ahead of us and needed to get back. Alex has her end of the summer swim team party tomorrow night and is doing a morning camp all week.

I was proud of the exercise I got in while gone: 2 bikes rides (5 miles and 7.4 miles) and 3 "runs" (doing week 2 of Couch to 5K). The scenery was amazing. The desert is beautiful and we were staying a few miles from this incredible mountain! Oh... it was so wonderful just being outside!

I have so much to show and tell and will try to post at least once a day until I'm done. I hope you are all well and enjoying your summer!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hiking Up a Volcano Flow

Yesterday I hiked to the top of a volcano flow! It was hot (the weather not e flow!), but I was determined to reach the top. The view Was incredible! I could see the city of Albuquerque below me and Sandia Peak in the distance. What a view!

This morning I did my walk/run. I can always see the mountain while running. It is easier to get outside with such beautiful scenery.

Oh, and despite my great efforts at exercising, my eating hasn't been very healthy the past 2 days. Pizza, chocolate, candy... I will try to get back on track today!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bake Camp

Yesterday, Alex attended a Bake Camp at a local bakery! There are 2 themes to choose from: cookies or cakes. She choose cookies, though she wants to take the cake camp now, too.

It was neat that she really got to work in the kitchen! They made 3 batches of dough: sugar cookies (the best EVER!), chocolate chip, and M&M (which somehow didn't get home with her).

They cut out shapes with the sugar cookies. I was told they would learn to decorate them, but they didn't. But, we love the cookies anyway.

And, Alex got to take home a LOT of cookies! (The butterflies aren't something they made.) She even got to take home a big ball of chocolate chip cookie dough that we can bake later. She had lots of fun while I enjoyed some shopping. And, we are all enjoying the yummy cookies!

P.S. I just haven't felt up to blogging lately. I think I am just really enjoying being free from school for awhile. And, I'm really working hard on my new diet & exercise with SparkPeople. I hope to get back to regular posting & reading soon. We'll be headed to New Mexico soon and I hope to post while I'm gone.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Goal... 5K!

I set a goal this week. I will be running my first 5K this fall!

These are the bibs I have from two 5Ks I participated in with my brother in 2004. I walked probably two thirds of each of them. This time, I plan on running the entire thing.

What got me motivated? Well, my sister-in-law was here two weekends ago and she has lost weight and is really getting in great shape. She was getting ready to go on a 25 mile bike ride the following weekend. I was really impressed! She looked great and felt great. And, I wanted to look and feel better, too.

So, I rejoined SparkPeople. Are you familiar with them? It is a FREE program that offers an online diet plan, calorie counter, and lots of health advice. You get to earn virtual trophies and points for sticking with your goals and for exercising. The best part of SparkPeople are the PEOPLE! You can blog at SP or join forums and you get a lot of positive feedback. It isn't just for people wanting to lose weight, but also for those who want to live healthier lives and just create and meet goals.

On Tuesday, I joined a SP group called "couch to 5K" (or C25K). I am now on a 9-week training program to run my first 5K. On Wednesday, I was talking to a friend at Alex's swim practice and she is now joining me on my runs! Then, yesterday, I decided to approach the swim team and ask other parents to join us for a 5K in October. We will be running in the Komen Race for the Cure. I already have at least 4 potential members and I hope to get 8-10. We'll see!

Is anyone else training for a 5K? or a half marathon? or a mini triathalon (something I'd like to do in the future!)? or some other event? If so, I'd like to cheer you on! We can do this!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Monday Memories - Frogs & Frog Bread!

This week's Monday Memory comes from our co-op with Mrs. S and her two girls, too. We spent a day studying amphibians. We discussed amphibians, the lifecycle of a frog, and the difference between a frog and a toad. My favorite website was All About Frogs and my favorite books were Amphibians Bev Harvey and Frogs by Gail Gibbons.

From the All About Frogs site, we made some froggy bread! It was a lot of fun and turned out a little chewy, but good! And, we got to work in some math (if we need 6 cups of flour and there are 3 of you girls, how many cups should each girl add?). And, since we're studying microbes in our human body study, we talked about yeast and how it makes bread rise.

Here's Alex (over 3 years ago) measuring some flour.
 And here she is making her frog bread. We really had a lot of fun with this study!

We had so much fun that Alex and I made turtle bread, too!
She even added green dye to her butter!

Friday, June 04, 2010

"Hot Bottom!"

We'll be getting on a plane in a few weeks and heading to New Mexico! My sister-in-law will be teaching at a university in Albuquerque, so we'll be going out to spend a week with her, my nephew Hunter, and my mother-in-law. We're also planning on spending a little time in Santa Fe and Taos.

(closeup of a page from my scrapbook album)

My sister-in-law also taught there in 2002 when Alex was still 1. (Isn't she adorable???) This is our most memorable photo from the trip because of what happened when we took this photo. I thought this rock looked like a great spot to put my little darling. I plopped her down to take a photo, snapped the shot, and she said "Hot Bottom!" Yikes! I hadn't even checked. That rock was hot!! Oh... I felt so bad. And now, somehow, we still often find reasons to use that phrase, "hot bottom." (Silly us!)

Anyway, if you have any ideas of places to do, things to see, food to eat, etc, while we are in New Mexico, please let me know. And, we are "studying up" on petroglyphs and deserts, but I'd like to study a few more things before we go on our trip and am looking for ideas in that area, too. If you have resources for either of those topics or other things you think we might be interested in, I'd love to hear from you! Thanks!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Life of Fred: Part 2 (a little more information)

I was pleasantly surprised with the number of comments I got on my Life of Fred post in just 24 hours. And, I wanted to add an update.

As I mentioned, we finished school TODAY(!) and I was only "requiring" Alex to do chapters 1-5 and the "bridge" which is like a unit test. Well, she completed 11 chapters... because she was having so much fun! And, that was in 2 DAYS!

Since quite a few of you said you weren't familiar with the Life of Fred books, I thought I'd tell you a little more about it.

After every unit (about every 5 chapters) there is a "bridge." The bridge is kind of like a unit test. There are 5 "tries" to pass the test and the author recommends you have the student get 9 out of 10 questions correct before they move on to the next chapter. (He also suggests a few other options.) So, they take the "first try" bridge. If they get 9 or 10 correct, they can move on to the next chapter. If not, they take the "second try."

Another neat thing about Life of Fred is that it teaches a lot of other tidbits besides math. These are usually found in the footnotes. For example, there is a funny footnote about "onomatopoetic words" on page 20. And on page 31, there is a footnote about "hyperbole." Here's that footnote which also shows you how humorous this book is:

Hyperbole (high PURR bow lee). Exaggeration. Mothers use it when they say, "I've told you a million times to clean up your room!" Darlene would be using a hyperbole if she tells Joe (this is from the story), "It takes you forever to write your class notes."

I hope Alex decides to continue with this book during the summer... since the story is just too good to put down! But, if she doesn't, we'll start it up again in the fall.

My Predictions for 2110

Alex's online class had a fun assignment for this week. They were discussing the World Fair of 1893 which was held in Chicago. At the fair, people made predictions about what they thought the US would be like in 100 years. Alex's assignment was to make a similar prediction for 100 years in our future. So, I thought I'd "play" along...
 (1893 Chicago's World Fair)

I think life expectancy will be quite a bit longer in 100 years. People might be expected live to be 130 or older. I think babies will be able to survive outside of the womb from an earlier age. In fact, I think we will be able to create an artifiicial womb where a baby can grow from fertilization. Or, a premature baby can be put in the womb to finish gestation. I believe many diseases will be cured and cancer will be more easily treated, though not eradicated. However, I believe there will be new diseases, too.

I believe gasoline will be a thing of the past. Vehicles will run on solar power and environmental friendly fuels. Air travel will be quicker and safer and more readily avaiable. There will be more personalized forms of air travel with many families owning their own air vehicle.

It's hard for me to imagine communication and technology getting any faster/easier/better than it is today! When I was growing up, our phones were still "corded." I remember seeing my first car phone -and it was HUGE and in a big box. I don't remember using a computer until high school - and it only had a black screen with green letters. We listened to 8-track tapes in the car. For the library, we used an old-fashioned card catalog... all the way through high school. For research, we used books and an encyclopedia - there wasn't an interenet. And, all books were on paper - not digital. So, what will people be using in 100 years? I really can't imagine. It's hard for me to imagine what new inventions will happen in the next 10 years. Does anyone have any thoughts?

I believe we'll find alternate ways to grow things to take more advantage of space. We'll use more hydoponics to grow food. Perhaps we'll use multi-story buildings to take up less space. And, we will make a shift back towards eating healthier.

Well, those are my predictions. Maybe you or your child would like to make some predictions about what the world will be like in 100 years. If so, please let me know... I'd love to read your predictions!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Life of Fred: Fractions

We only have two "official" days of school left! Woohoo! (Alex is taking two online classes which will both continue for an additional two weeks.) So, today I told her what she needed to do to be finished for the year. In math, we started a new book, Life of Fred: Fractions. I just wanted her to finish the first unit, which is 5 chapters and a quiz. She finished chapter 6 tonight!

As you can probably tell, she is really enjoying Life of Fred. Tonight in bed, she created a list of important facts she's learned about Fred so far:
  • Fred is 5 1/2 years old
  • Fred is 3 feet tall
  • Fred wants a bike
  • Fred teaches college
  • Fred is at KITTEN University
  • Fred has a friend named Betty
  • Fred's last name is Gauss (rhymes with house)
(Alex's drawing of Fred)

In case you aren't famliar with the Life of Fred books, let me explain a little about them. Each book tells a story about Fred's life. We are reading the first book, "Fractions", which covers one day in his life. Each chapter tells a little more of the story and then has a "Your Turn to Play" page where you do the math. These problems are great "thinking" problems and very unlike a traditional textbook.

Here's an example of a problem from chapter 6. Fred wants to buy a bike and the store owner, Coalback, keeps doubling the price of the bike as he realizes that Fred is very interested in buying the bike. The problem states: "The price of the bike is now $1,600. If Coalback doubles it again, it will be $3,200. How many times will Coalback have to double the price before it is over a million dollars?"

We officially take the summer off from school, though we do continue to do plenty of educational activities. So, it is up to Alex if we continue with Fred or take a break. Either way, I think we'll start next year's math off with a few Fred books!
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