Saturday, January 30, 2010

Scottie Scholar Bowl Team

Our homeschool team competed at the Scottie Scholar Bowl at Highland Community College, and they placed 13th out of 23 teams. Not bad for no "practice" sessions--just a fun time figuring out the trivia questions.

Visit from the Tooth Fairy

Polar Bear lost another tooth, but the Tooth Fair simply handed him a dollar this time.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Science Fair Winners

Wife's 11th year to sponsor the St. Joseph Homeschool Science Fair. For Meggar's grand finale, she heated pretty blue water over a Bunsen burner and little copper flakes precipitated. Using $10 worth of Copper Sulfate and granulated Zinc powder, she was able to produce about 4 grams of copper flakes.
Dorito's Chemistry experiment stole the show when his explosion sent two dozen sparks flying about five feet into the air! He was hoping to win first place because: "Boys like to blow things up!" But the judges gave him 3rd place for his dangerous elements in the high school division (that's still good IMO). He put sodium metal and potassium metal into H2O to create two violent displacement reactions.

Science Fair Winners

In honor of the International Year of Astronomy, Winger ordered a GalileoScope and put the kit together. He was hoping to see the four moons of Jupiter in January, like Galileo did 400 years ago. But our cloudy and foggy weather the past three weeks hampered his chance to test that hypothesis. He won 2nd place in the 6th grade division, just one point behind his twin brother!
Polar Bear created a 1st Place home-made sundial for Gr. Judy's garden (seen lower right in this picture). Gr. Gerald was a good assistant with the spray painting. We look for sundials in people's yards and community parks to see if they are accurate or simply decorative. Above all else, I LOVE the sundial and the fact that in late 1700s, all Americans knew how to create one for their own home or farm. This information is somewhat lost to us because of modern technology. But Gr. Gerald told us a sundial story from his younger years of farming with his own Grandfather and not having a watch. "I would shove a stick in the ground at the edge of the field so I would know when it was noon and time to go in for dinner," he said. Pretty clever!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Vatican is a Sundial

Did you know the Vatican has a sundial? Out in the middle of St. Peter's piazza there is an Egyptian obelisk from 1300 BC. It was placed in Rome near what was originally the Circus of Nero, a site of martrydom of early Christians. St. Peter's Basilica was finally marked with twelve zodiak stones, added in 1817, to mark out the hours within its spherical courtyard. How neat is that?!

Read the Instructions

Unfortunately, I loaned out my two "Sundial" books and don't remember who has them. (This happens a lot with homeschool moms.) The books are from Dover, but otherwise out of print. I tried all the libraries and book stores in Kansas City, but no one had them. And we need them SOON to create a sundial for Grandma Judy. Polar Bear promised it as her Christmas present--and plans to enter it as his Science Fair project this Friday. Luckily, I looked back through Dorito's school box where I save all the projects, certificates, and best handwriting samples from each grade. He had made a sundial in 4th grade for my own garden, and I had copied out the directions from the book as a give-away at his Science Fair display. How Great is That!! Found them in the nick of time. Good thing I am somewhat of a pack-rat with school papers. I'm just too sentimental to throw away all that hard work!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lost Another Tooth

Polar Bear is continuting to "act like" the older twin by losing his back molar first. It popped out during the chicken stew at lunch time! That will really change his mouthguard for a while. The boys ordered new TapouT mouthguards for hockey with their Christmas money. Fancy colors: Dorito chose blue and black, Polar Bear took white and blue, and Winger picked white and red.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Grandpa Gerald Comes to Town

Gr. Gerald and Gr. Judy arrived this evening for supper and the chance to savor a K-State basketball victory. Grandma will be travelling for work this week, so Grandpa is going to be our handy-man for the next six days. I made him a long list of little odd jobs. We know he will be in a good mood now that the Wildcats won.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Twins Win Local Hockey Tournament

The twins' team won first place in their own hockey tournament--KC Showcase! Shown here: Dorito is passing out the first-place medals (Polar Bear is #16) while Meggar makes the announcements. My teens made $40 running the clock and scoreboard for the semi-finals and championship games today. Winger and Polar Bear were happy to win, but sorry to defeat their friend Zacchaeus in the process.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

March for Life

Although we couldn't attend this year's March for Life in D.C., we were heartened that the homily at mass was focused on it! Meggar and I were visiting Quincy University (a Catholic college run by Franciscans in Illinois) and prayed for the marchers, the politicians, the unborn, and especially for those feeling confused by an unintended pregnancy. Every year during the anniversary weekend, I am both tempted to despair and checking my urge to be overly confident.
Sunday's report in the Washington Post: "I went to the March for Life rally Friday on the Mall expecting to write about its irrelevance. Isn't it quaint, I thought, that these abortion protesters show up each year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, even though the decision still stands after 37 years. What's more, with a Democrat in the White House likely to appoint justices who support abortion rights, surely the Supreme Court isn't going to overturn Roe in the foreseeable future. How wrong I was. The antiabortion movement feels it's gaining strength, even if it's not yet ready to predict ultimate triumph, and Roe supporters (including me) are justifiably nervous. In this case, I was especially struck by the large number of young people among the tens of thousands at the march. It suggests that the battle over abortion will endure for a long time to come." Robert McCartney is hinting at those convictions which I am confident will continue to build up a culture of life.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Prayers for Haiti

Of course, we are saddened by the earthquake damage in Haiti and the orphans it has created. Our prayers and our donation were sent earlier this week.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Applause for Our Scholarship Winner

We are so pleased that Meggar was chosen to receive a Special Award for French from the University of Dallas. She worked very hard preparing her portfolio of spoken and written Français, and then had to interview on campus to show her fluency. This Catholic college gives awards between $1,000 and $3,000, and Meggar was at the top of their range. This is one of the few additional scholarships offered beyond your ACT/SAT/GPA award. Applaudir!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Morning Glory in Massachusetts

Of course, we listened to the radio reports all the way home from Snow Creek last night--enjoying the early victory of Scott Brown as the newest Senator from Massachusetts! I suspect that it might have been working Catholic Democrats who helped swing his 5-point lead over Martha Coakley. Obviously, she is not related to Bishop Paul Coakley out in Kansas. He is not confused about the Faithful being allowed to work in hospitals and retain their freedom of conscience. But Martha showed her true colors recently when she told an interviewer that: "You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room." This is one of my main concerns about Obamacare: that American taxpayers will pay for abortion-on-demand. And my brother who is an Ob-Gyn could have his practice ruined by such federal practices. Yet along came a mid-term election where registered Democrats outnumbered registered Republicans 3-to-1--and Brown was chosen! I'm so please the Democrats will no longer have a 60-seat majority in the US Senate.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chocolate Cheerios

I know better than to cave in to childish whims... but the Sample Lady at HyVee was giving away Chocolate Cheerios, and soon I had three boys pleading with me to buy them. Honestly, I also was impressed with their snackableness. So I bought a box.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hockey Trip to St. Louis

Dorito's team certainly kept our heart rate elevated with so many close hockey games this weekend. The first win was easy for the Bantams, but we thought Jake might get ejected for fighting! In the second game, there were only 2 minutes left when Dorito scored the tying goal. Then, we had a shot go in with only 20 seconds remaining to win it! The third game, they won with good passing and another assist from Dorito. The fourth game was won -- in sudden death overtime! We were all pumped up for the Championship game against St. Peters Spirit, whom we had beaten on Saturday. Dorito even had new shoulder pads, thanks to the sale at Total Hockey. But too many penalties led to their loss 0-2. Second place picture with trophy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Myth Busters

Today is Benjamin Franklin's birthday, and he's kind of a favorite in this family. So we were fascinated with today's episode of Myth Busters on TV at the hotel! They wanted to see if his finger really was sparked by the key on the string of his kite flying in a rain storm. Nope! The electricity would have delivered a lethal charge to Ben's heart and killed him if he had touched that key.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Family Day Fiddlers

During the free "Family Day" at the Pony Express National Museum, hundreds of little ones came to help kick off the Sesquicentennial Year. The Fiddlers Three played pioneer music for a couple of hours, right between the "Pan for Gold" activity and "Riding the Ferry" across the Muddy Mo. Luckily, Johnny Fry was riding by and stopped for a photo. Can you believe he still looks 19 after these 150 years have gone by?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Penny Log

Winger had the luck this time. He found a $10 bill at a strip mall parking lot in Omaha last weekend. He and Polar Bear were goofing around so I let them run ahead to the next store. He found it against a pillar, and no one was around to return it to. He promptly went in TJ Maxx and bought a wallet. Leather one, like Dad's.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Piano Scholarship Deadline

Meggar has been working hard to prepare for the Truman State Piano Scholarship. Actually, for about 10 years. ;-) But the last two weeks have meant 1.5 hours a day polishing the finer points of her two pieces. I love the "Nocturne" Op. 72 No. 1 by Chopin the best of all she has played so far. It's only four pages. The "killer" is Mozart's "Sonata in B-flat Major" because it is eight pages, plus repeats, at an allegro rate of 153!! That requires very strong fingers from my skinny girl. Margie is an excellent coach, and pushes Meggar to try her best. After 30+ recordings, we burned a CD so it could be postmarked today. The live competition will be Feb. 20 at the campus. Later in the afternoon, it was pleasant to hear Meggar returning to her old, comfortable songs. See must be relieved. I am obviously proud.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Snow Boarding

Dorito took some great photos for me about midway up the mountain at Snow Creek yesterday. The boys saw a drift was created on the right side of their longest run that worked well for jumps and tricks. I think my three sons mostly do jumps to see how much air they can grab. Looks fun, but Winger fell on this jump and his ankle is still sore.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bakewell Tart

In honor of tonight's Book Club, I am attempting a Bakewell Tart. I've never had it--even whilst living in England for a year. Perhaps because I never visited Bakewell in the region of Derbyshire. The traditional tart is a pastry shell spread with raspberry jam and filled with an almond pudding. Legend says it originated in 1820 by the landlady of the White Horse Inn in Bakewell, which is near Manchester. The setting of our book "Cranford" is Knutsford (where the author Elizabeth Gaskell grew up) which is about 15 miles from Manchester. So I think it's quite àpropos. I wish I still had a fluted edge pan: our wedding gift from Jutta was accidentally broken a few years back. But my springform pan will do the job. And I have black beans for "baking blind." I can't wait to taste this delicious looking treat!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tapioca Pudding

Over the holidays, we watched "New in Town" with Renee Zellweger. That got me craving some tapioca pudding (a central theme in the movie plot). So today I made some for supper. I used to make quarts and quarts of tapioca pudding when I was pregnant with my twins. Mainly because I needed to eat so often (!) and secondly because I needed additional protein to grow twin boys and not miscarry. Back then, I didn't have Internet so I looked up tapioca in the Dictionary to see what it was made of... and the entry said "tapioca." so unhelpful to my analytical mind! Now, I can log into Wikipedia and see it is a Brazilian root that is processed into starchy pearls. Oh... I just enjoy the warm, creamy taste--like having thickened ice cream in the middle of winter! Meggar and Captain were equally happy I revived the old recipe. (see recipe in comments below... Be sure to soak non-instant tapioca for 1-12 hours)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dorito was Playing Big

Dorito's team won 3 out of their 5 hockey games this weekend in Omaha for the Bantam A Midwest League. This places them in 2nd or 3rd place overall before they play in the FINALS weekend in February. We were so excited to see the Saints team improve on passing and teamwork for goal-scoring! Dorito scored 3 goals out of his team's total of 10. The other good news was he was using his height and weight to play very physical--he and Brandon had the most checks. The bad news was Dorito had the most penalty minutes. Good efforts, especially considering we played at 6:45 am on Sunday and had to be at the rink by 6:00.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wrapping Up Christmas

The twins finished up this Gingerbread House with some encouragement from Captain, who was home yesterday. This has been an annual Christmas tradition for our family since Meggar made one with the homeschoolers in Salina, Kansas. She was three, but already artistic. This year, she and Dorito just watched the construction. I can tell Winger decorated the right-hand side with the yellow candies because that's his favorite color.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Classical Music at the Museum

The Fiddlers Three played a two-hour classical set as background dinner music tonight at the Art Museum. And we invited one of the J-Boyz to join our quartet! They played all 23 classical songs that they know, plus a half-dozen Christmas hymns, to fill up the time. It turned out very nicely! Plus we were served leftover brisket and cheesy potatoes. For boys, that's what counts.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More Lost and Found

Meggar got her third and largest scholarship offer - but she didn't know it because she stopped opening her college mail! It's not the first thing she "lost" over the holidays... She dropped her phone somewhere between the van and Grandma's front door while running inside from the cold wind. Dorito searched, I searched, she searched. Came back inside to warm up. Searched again. Nothing. Got too dark to look any more. Lots of despair. Next morning, Grandpa raked the front snow banks and found it--Still working! How lucky is that? Thank you, Saint Anthony.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Feast of the Epiphany Resolution

Today officially marks the visit from the Three Wise Men. I think Epiphany is one of my favorite Church celebrations, because it records a long journey by a smart person who was acting upon faith. This is a wonderful model for us. Be patient when the journey is longer than expected. Use your reason and develop your intelligence to its fullest. Don't be afraid to face the unknown. My New Year's resolution is to draw deeply from a faithful hope in the One who made and named the entire universe.

P.S. We played a "Fiddlers Three" show today at the Vintage Gardens nursing home, and kicked it off with "We Three Kings." I think they liked that.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Snow Day

Another day that the regular schools are closed, so I took my kids for their weekly fix at Snow Creek for some 'boarding! Guess who else showed up? Jarrett and Lucas! A fun group to be with on the slopes. And Lynn and I had a chance to be chatty while waiting in the lodge. Of course, we all missed Meggar who is working full time this week at the new and improved Pony Express National Museum.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Call Me Irresponsible

Meggar is trying to choose a Senior Song for her Graduation slide show. I suggested "Call Me Irresponsible" because she likes Michael Bublé...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Playing in the Big Leagues

The twins travelled to Nashville this weekend to play hockey (thanks for driving them, Mr. Flick) against some Double-A and Triple-A teams. Unfortunately, their coach was detained by his wife's emergency C-section. Fortunately, the Stars all played well and are in the Championship game today. We were listening to the radio play-by-play online yesterday at so it was fun to hear "Schmidling" a time or two. Winger scored the first goal in one of the games. But the nail-biter was Saturday afternoon against #31 team in the division above us, Nashville Thunder AAA. We had lost to them before, but beat them this time!

Note: We took home 2nd place medals on Sunday afternoon losing to the #27 team: Columbus Ohio Jr. Bluejackets AAA. Our team is still ranked #13 in the AA division, but feeling good about their talent and efforts. We're meeting Mr. Flick at 12:45 a.m. tonight. Good thing there is no school tomorrow.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Monk" vs. "Munk"

I heard the boys quoting movie lines, and I thought they said "Monk" but it was "Munk" as in Alvin & the Chipmunks: Part 2. Good, clean humor! Meggar took them right before Christmas so Mom and Dad could do the Santa wrapping. But the Jungbluth boys can imitate the Munk voices almost perfectly. "Let's play hide-the-broken-TV-from-Dave." and "Shake what your Momma gave ya!" Which gives me an idea for Halloween costumes next year ~ that could be a little scary!

Friday, January 1, 2010

NHL Winter Classic on TV

New Year's Day is a great time to watch sports, and I must say that the commercials during the Hockey "Winter Classic" are more clever and family-friendly than the other networks. Did you see the one with Sidney Crosby shooting pucks in his mom's dryer?! It was covered with black marks! That's what happened to my deep freezer in the garage (can you believe my boys ever shoot wide?) We also loved seeing Bobby Orr and the 1980 Olympians. We were at the Jungbluth's house by invitation, because we don't have TV. How Nice.