Thursday, May 20, 2010

Call it Courage ~ Garden ~ Noeo Chemistry ~ More Sunscreen

Call it Courage by A. Sperry

Today was our official last day of school but I can't wait to start doing more lessons with the dc! I just finished putting together an independent study for Call it Courage. I'll upload it to googledocs but first let me give credit where credit is due. Below are my sources. The maps that I printed aren't in my doc but I mention how we used them. It won't be 100% independent, because they'll need help researching, but they did so well with the slavery independent study that I thought I would try to do that more often.

scroll waaay down for the plates - I used this to make a magnetic puzzle

Here is the paper that I'm giving to the olders. I may do this book as a read-aloud, but having it written out for independent work makes that option ready to go. The pictures of the book covers at the end are for them to glue in their Literature Logs. Our youngest will do the maps and geography as she's interested but I don't think I'll read the book to her. It's a little intense for her age. This also begins their formal Geography course for high school, which includes cultural studies.

What's Cookin'?

Chili. Purists may cringe but I made it with beans. I sure wouldn't win at a chili cook-off but it was okay. Basically I put cooked pinto beans, cooked ground beef, tomato sauce, and onion in the crockpot with some seasonings. I didn't have bell pepper or celery and dh doesn't like cooked tomatoes in recipes so I left those items out. One recipe I found online said garlic salt, pepper, and chili powder. Garlic, salt, and pepper are IN chili powder so I just used some chili powder (homemade so no msg) and just added that for seasoning. We ate it with tortilla chips instead of cornbread.

For Memorial Day we had BBQ (a pre-cooked roast cut up and put in the crock pot with homemade msg-free BBQ sauce), mashed potatoes (I mash 'em good with lots of butter and milk), fresh boiled corn on the cob, and rolls. We're finishing up our last bit of Amish butter and it was heavenly on the corn. Then we went out to an old-fashioned ice cream parlor for our traditional end-of-school outing.

What's Gardenin'?

The lettuce has bolted except for some tiny ones that I planted from seed. The peas are starting to flower. The cukes are starting to flower but they are still really, really short so it may be too early. The strawberries are bearing fruit but I have to beat the roly-polies to them. I thought the slugs were getting them but I find lot of rolies in the stawberry bed. A week ago I put a bunch of DE all in the bed and it helped a LOT. I've gotten a few tomatoes but I think it's still a bit early for those. The fire ants are busy harvesting aphids in the peach tree. Very interesting to watch, actually! The potatoes look like they probably have blight, what a plight - I'm very dissappointed about that. I haven't been able to spend much time outside but hopefully will next week [update: I cut off the infected leaves, sprayed with neem oil, and piled the dirt/mulch higher around them. They are doing much better].

I got a nice surprise this week - the peas are out! I had seen a few flowers here and there and didn't realize how well they were doing. We can start picking now. There's a fungus on the bottom part. That happened last year also, but in a totally different bed (this is a new raised bed). I didn't spray neem oil ahead of time like I planned - waited until it was too yucky. The top part of the plants look good though and are busy with the pea pods.

Another surprise: There was a dead potato plant in the planter so I pulled it out. Then I thought, "I wonder..." and dug around in the dirt without disturbing the other plants. I pulled out a perfect little new potato. Then I found another in the raised bed. So I have 2 pretty red potatoes.

I think I have chiggers (ewww). When we got home from watering the Children's Community Garden I had the dc take off their socks and shoes immediately and take a 'toe bath' while rubbing their legs roughly with their hands to swipe any off. What did I do? Walked in and got lunch ready and piddled around for about an hour until I finally got around to doing that myself. Result: bites around my sock line that itch like crazy. I put a baking soda paste on it yesterday to help relieve the itching.

What's Schoolin'?

Chemistry, again. This curriculum looks fantastic and uses trade books for its core intruction. I haven't seen the teacher guide in person and the sample pages don't take you through a full lesson cycle (tsk, tsk) but the bit it shows seems good. My heart is set on Real Science 4 Kids and I've already spent a lot of time on it (I'll upload the file when I'm done). Otherwise this would be in the running. I'm considering it for biology and physics though.

We're in the middle of writing up our Record Books for 4-H. That'll be the gist of school (or at least writing class time) for this week [another update: now that the school year is "officially" over we'll just be doing it in our spare time, lol. Either way they are due in 2 weeks!]. Youngest dd is doing the Memory Book. It's fun looking back through the academic year at all that they did and accomplished. I got several new gray hairs last year during record book time and probably will again this year but they're worth it!

Sunscreen Update:

I found ewg's recommended list here:

Some I like so far:

California Baby: Titatinium Dioxide is the active ingredient but it says "non-nanoparticles" and that ingredient gets a rating of 1 (okay). Other ingredients have no identified concerns. Overall score was 0 (recommended). Downside: really expensive :(

Badger: Zinc Oxide is active ingredient at 22%. That ingredient got a 3; still got an overall 1 (recommended). Upside: More affordable [I ran across their Anti-Bug pushup in Amazon - looks good]. $9 or $13 for 3.5 oz.

Loving Naturals Organic: Non-nano particle zinc oxide. $10/1 oz.

Thinkbaby: non-nano particles, zinc oxide, no titanium dioxide. Downside: argine for fragrance and I can't find a good ingredient list from the company to see if it has another product without it. They say what it doesn't have but not what it has. $17/3 oz.

This was not on their list but the ingredients look good: Elemental Herbs sunscreen. Non-nanoparticle zinc oxide. Other ingredients look fine. $9 for 1 oz.

From their site regarding zinc oxide:

"About ZINC OXIDE (sunscreen grade > 100nm): Sunscreens with micronized zinc oxide may contain nanoparticles. Micronized zinc offers improved sun protection compared to larger particles. Micronized zinc particles do not penetrate healthy skin to a large degree, but may be more toxic to living cells and the environment. Inhalation of powders and sprays is a concern."

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