Summer Slowdown

It happens this way every summer: I think that when school’s out, I’ll have time to catch up on things. But school is never out, because we’re homeschoolers — and something else always comes up to make us even more busy than normal. This year, an emergency forced dh to move his engineering office from town to home. It’s great to have him close at hand, but spring cleaning has turned into a total house reorganization to make room.

Niner's baby snapping turtle sitting on her wrist
And then Niner and Kitten adopted a couple of new pets. Here’s a picture of Niner’s new snapping turtle. The old one is getting so big he eats feeder fish by the dozen, but she plans to release him back into the creek as soon as the spring floods go down. Kitten rescued two baby birds (normally the dogs take care of wind-blown fledglings), so we have to find room for yet another cage in our menagerie.

In the meantime, this month’s Math Teachers at Play carnival is coming home to my blog, so I’d better get to work on that. If you would like to share a blog post about learning, teaching, or just playing around with math, I’d love to have you send it in. Just click here and fill out the handy automatic submission form.

Update, July 2011: Niner wrote a blog post on the turtles, with photos. Kitten had one of her babies die (sad!) but the other grew up enough to be released into the woods across the creek.

Our Power Outage Adventure

[Photo by Nestor Galina.]

Our power finally came back on this afternoon after a couple of cold, dark nights.

Staying Warm

We heated the house with candles and stove-top burners (propane). We found that if you get enough candles lit in a room, it really can make a difference, and the stove was able to keep the kitchen in the upper-50’s, even above 60 degrees at times, which was pretty comfortable. We dressed in lots of layers and wore gloves, drank a plenty of coffee and hot chocolate, listened to oldies on the battery-powered radio, and went to bed early each night. (Hooray for sleeping bags!)

Continue reading Our Power Outage Adventure

A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That…

funny pictures of cats with captions

It’s high time I got back on track with my Alexandria Jones posts, so I’ve been working hard on a short introduction to probability, to go along with The Birthday Surprise. Or, more honestly, I’ve been procrastinating on a short intro … well, anyway, here’s a little of what I’ve been reading around the interwebs lately.

Continue reading A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That…

New Blog: 19 & Still Alive

old man by Niner[Graphite drawing by Niner.]

Niner (pronounced Neener), who takes the photos for my blog header — which reminds me, we’re about due for a new one of those… — has started a new blog. She calls it 19 & Still Alive, because “the world doesn’t end when you’re 16 if you don’t go to Prom or don’t get your driver’s license. (I never went to Prom, and I didn’t go through Driver’s ED until 17, but I’m alive, amazingly.)”

There won’t be any math there, or at least I don’t expect to see any; the blog will be mostly her rambling thoughts about whatever catches her interest. But she does have a wonderful graphite drawing based on the photo Masarwa man. On her blog, you can click the image to see him up close and personal. Wow!


howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.

Hurricane Ike Drops In


[Photo by Niner.]

Thanks to the remnants of Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Depression Ike, our creek has risen well past last spring’s high-water mark. Of course, this is nothing compared to the devastation down south, but it’s enough to keep us trapped at home for the day.

If you’re curious about what’s around that corner of our driveway…

Continue reading Hurricane Ike Drops In

Does Life Have You Swamped?


Photo by Niner.

My yard, my life! This was our front yard and driveway last weekend, as we rushed through our last-minute preparations for the County Fair. Niner, too old for 4-H, was determined to get her photos entered in the open competition before Saturday afternoon’s deadline. She rolled up her pants legs and waded through the drink, using her feet to feel out the edges of the driveway and marking the path with red-flagged fence posts so the Jeep could make it through.

Just in case you were wondering why there were no new posts this week.


howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.

Welcome to Blogland, Niner!


Photo by Niner.

The daughter who supplies my header photos has started a blog to show off her pictures:

Niner’s SnapFair
[It’s pronounced “NEE-ner.”]

Update: She no longer posts to that blog, but has been writing and posting photos, recipes, and craft projects to her new blog — College & The Years After.

Her photography skills continue to improve, and her sense of humor comes through in the stories that accompany each photo. I’m sure she’d love to have you stop by and visit!

Continue reading Welcome to Blogland, Niner!

Living with History

Farm in winterMy daughter has been decorating the kitchen, and she decided to hang these old photos that came with the house. The frames needed repairs, so I took the opportunity to scan the photos. (Click for larger view.)

Family farmI wish I knew who the people were, or when the photos were taken. The house shows changes over the years. Eventually, the back porch was closed in to create a pantry and laundry room off the kitchen.

Horse cartThe horse cart picture has a date across one corner. It looks like 9/1908.

Pony trick

This young boy has taught his pony a trick: to step up on a box or something — I can’t quite see what.

Vintage carCan anyone identify this car? The boy looks sweet with a bouquet for his mother. I wonder if that’s her in the driver’s seat.


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Happy Birthday, Sweet 17!

Beach partyI described in a previous post our family tradition of hiding one present on each child’s birthday. Today’s hidden present rhyme was more successful than recent ones — the birthday girl was temporarily stumped and needed a hint from her older sister. Can you guess where they found the gift?

As always, the outside of the envelope is the same:

I’m your last present.
Can you find me?
I’m hiding some place
That you can’t see…

Continue reading Happy Birthday, Sweet 17!

Why Am I Always the Straight Man?

[Rescued from my old blog.]

Teen dd looks up from her Geometry book. “Hey, Mom, guess what? I finally figured out how palm reading works.”

Now there’s a career choice I really want to encourage, right?

With some tredpidation, I ask, “Um… How?”

“When you look at your hand,” she explains, “and it’s all covered with scars, then you know it’s time to declaw the cat!”


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