This Month's Featured Resources...

Father's DayTravel - CookingLatin WW2

Monday, October 22

We Didn't Start the Fire (Billy Joel)

I'm no stranger to fire.  Back during my high school years, our boarding school burnt slap up.  We'd had several fire drills, but in the 'heat of the moment,' it was a different animal.  Some of us had the flu.  It was bedtime.  Some were in the showers.  It was the same time of the month that we usually had drills.  All of these factors added up to a few people blowing off the "fire drill," and just trying to get some rest.  
Luckily, one of the security guards came through the hall and ensured that everyone was safely out.  We may have stood around outside for hours in a towel, but we were safe.  Afterward, thirty girls were left homeless, and the only place to put us was in the guest apartment, conveniently located in the boys' dorm!  Don't worry.....we made the most of it.  *wink*  See those clothes....other girls at school donated their own clothes, and they became "new to us."  (Incidentally, as we passed things around, it also generated the phrase "Smells ok; it's clean to me!")  We shared a lot over the next month or so, bonded quite a bit, and came back to a new & improved hall the next year.

Would you know what to do if a fire started in your home? Would your kids? Take the time now to review fire safety facts and tips so your family will be prepared in the event of a fire emergency in your home.

Fire Unit :
Fire Safety Precautions :
These memories were stirred up, and the need for fire safety precautions brought to the forefront at our home recently, when the (quite large) shop caught fire and burned down within an hour or so.  It was a total loss, but no one was hurt.
Who'd have thought that something so large would come down in so short a time?

Our son was excited that he wouldn't have to mow the lawn anymore!!

Even the metal items were so badly scorched that they disintegrated as we tried to move them.

Inside, we found a few remnants of tools leftover from the 1930's-1960's.  These were "family heirlooms," passed down from one carpenter to the next.

They're just things, and most things can be replaced.  But not all of them.  There are a lot of memories in this building....

I have a personal request to make...

Our shop / barn burnt down a few weeks ago, and we have been trying to salvage, but there isn't really anything left. It was a 70 x 30 shop, so you can imagine. Eventually, most of it can be replaced; however, my father-in-law, a Navy man of 30+ years, had all of his uniforms and memorabilia out there, since it was "his" spot. His man cave, if you will. Nothing was salvaged.

I know that many of you have parents and grandparents that are veterans, or maybe you are one yourself. Does anyone have SeaBee or Vietnam-era memorabilia that they would be willing to part with? Maybe a dad has seven or eight uniforms / shirts just sitting in a closet? If I could find something for him, I know it would mean so much. It's true...he's never going to wear them again, but this was his entire life, and his entire identity. You can see that he is lost at the moment. I'd love to find something to ground him, and bring back some peace.
Maybe _you_ can't help, but one of your friends could. Would you mind sharing this post? If you can help, please message me. The tools, the appliances, the tractors, the odds and ends...all of that can be eventually replaced. I can't do much about the antiques and such that he had from _his_ grandfather, but I can try to help replace this one small part for him.
Thank you. 

Monday, October 15

Luka (Suzanne Vega)

Luka is such a powerful song...I left today's video full-sized so that you could take three minutes to watch and listen.

Domestic violence is best understood as a pattern of abusive behaviors–including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion–used by one intimate partner against another (adult or adolescent) to gain, maintain, or regain power and control in the relationship. Batterers use of a range of tactics to frighten, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, often injure, and sometimes kill a current or former intimate partner.
Between 25 and 31 percent of US women report being a victim of domestic violence at some point in their live.  Domestic violence occurs across the spectrum of relationships, from dating teens to elderly couples, in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Although the majority of victims of domestic violence are women, it is important to acknowledge that men are also victims of domestic violence, and that in some situations both partners may engage in violent behavior.
For more general information about domestic violence, including potential warning signs for emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline's information page: Is This Abuse? Get the Facts.
We often forget that young girls and women are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence, also known as dating violence.  There are two wonderful groups out there, Break the Cycle and That's Not Cool, that specifically target these young women.
Break the Cycle also provides more information about patterns of abuse and behaviors commonly experienced by youth in dating relationships.
Want to learn more about domestic violence, but in a lighter fashion?  Check out Sophie Littlefield's Stella Hardesty series.  The books are well-written and great mystery novels, but centered around the very serious subject of helping women escape the cycle of abuse.

Thursday, October 11

Crusade (Voltaire)

Known as Richard the Lionheart (because he was a fierce warrior),King Richard I is commonly considered a brave king who stood beside his soldiers when standing up to enemies.  A deeply religious man, when he became king, he swore to recapture Jerusalem - a city that had fallen to the Muslims two years prior under Saladin - as a holy crusade.  This became known as the "Third Crusade."  After three years of fighting, a peace treaty was signed in 1192.  It left Jerusalem under Muslim control, but allowed Christians to have access to the land.

Jerusalem was sacred to all three of the major religious groups because :
  • Christians saw it as the place where Jesus was crucified and ascended to heaven
  • Jews saw it as the site of Solomon's ancient temple
  • Muslims saw it as the site where Muhammad met Abraham, Moses, and Jesus
The city has been passed back and forth, captured and recaptured, several times over the course of history.  The crusades began in 1095, when a group of Arabs took over the city and refused to allow Jews or Christians to enter the city.  The Pope called for a battle to recapture the city, and hence began a series of crusades lasting nearly a century, and even included the tragic Children's Crusade.

As the fourth child, Richard never should have been crowned king; nevertheless, due to disease and death, he was crowned in 1189 upon the death of his father Henry II.  Though one of the best-known British monarchs, he did not speak English and during his ten-year reign, he only spent about six months in the British Isles.  Upon his death, he was succeeded by John (the villain from Robin Hood).
Richard I & the Crusades unit :
Make / Do
Define / Identify
  • Crusades
  • Jihad
  • Richard the Lionheart
  • Saladin
  • Fontevraud Abbey, France
  • Rouen Cathedral, France
  • Westminster Palace, London
  • Jaffa and Acre, Israel
  • Jerusalem
  • Why were Christians and Muslims fighting over the city of Jerusalem?
  • Why would non-soldiers, such as farmers and artisans join Knights and fight in the Crusades?
  • Is there a difference between “crusade” and “jihad”?
  • Were the Crusades successful for Christians or Muslims?  Why or why not?

Wednesday, October 10

Pompeii (Bastille)

Julius Caesar raided Britain twice - in 55 and 54 BC - during the Gallic Wars, so we can guess that this book occurs during one of these years. The invasions led to the creation of a Roman government in eastern England, and also brought roads and other 'new' inventions to the area.

The Roman legion had a reputation for being fierce and invincible. They were well-organized and could quickly take over a region. Most soldiers were from the plebian class, and officers had to be able to afford their own horses, as they were not supplied by the government. 

Each man served for a minimum of twenty-five years before retirement. Upon completion of service, he was granted land and a small pension. (This served Rome well, as the landowners were almost all trained military men who could protect the towns.)

Legions were composed of approximately 5,000 infantry, recruited from the ranks of Roman citizens. Most soldiers were volunteers, but during emergencies, they used the draft to obtain more men.

Upon joining the ranks, a man was issued his uniform of rectangular shield, short sword, dagger, chain mail jacket, lorica segmentata, belt, helmet, kilt, shirt, and sandals. The sandals were specially-designed to make loud noises and create sparks on rocky ground, helping to intimidate the enemy.

Each legion had its own name, number, and special banner. Within each legion, the centuries (groups of 100 men) also had special banners. It was similar to the way that Boy Scouts are set up - with each troop being divided into patrols.

As legions moved around, they built camps, towers, and roads -- leading to the saying "All roads lead to Rome." Many of the earliest architectural finds uncovered through Europe can be traced back to these legions.

Ancient Rome Unit :
Vocabulary : (define)
  • republic
  • vexilla 
  • aqueduct
  • senate
  • patricians
  • plebeians
  • dictator
  • consuls 
  • magistrate
  • brigades
  • auxiliary
  • legion
People & Places : (identify)
  • Julius Caesar
  • Gallic Wars
  • Kent
  • Mandubracius
  • Cassivellaunus
  • Trinovantes
  • Gaul
  • Suessiones
  • Belgae
Caesar & His Legions unit :

Check out all of our We Were There unit studies!

Sister Golden Hair (America)

If you've ever thought to yourself, "Man, I sure wish she'd show some more pictures of her family, and less of the places she visits....well, today is your lucky day!"

As you've probably noticed, the beach is a special place for us Okies to visit...but one beach in particular is extra special, because that is our family time.

We visit the Pumpkin Patch and pick out pumpkins for the kids to carve for autumn...

We also hit up the Fall Festival and see the local artisans and crafts.

There are always a few trips up Jockey's Ridge...

......followed by trips to the seashore....

....although the kids have varying degrees of fondness for the water....

Some of us look a little rougher around the edges than others, but we make up one, big, happy family!

The kids dig for shells, go wave-diving, and get soaked!

This is where the kids almost always elect to have their school year photos done.  It's not professional-grade, but still just as good!

At Jockey's Ridge, they also discovered this sand castle...

All grown up (at least, in age), with kids of our own!

Being an airplane family, a trip to the Wright Memorial is a must....

Back to the beach!

This month-long trip is capped off with a night of trick-or-treating, followed by the mandatory candy sorting event.  

From the oldest to the youngest, each child brings something unique to the table.  We're blessed to have the opportunity to spend a huge chunk of quality time with family members who live so far away.....Octobers are sacred!