Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reading Challenges for 2009 - Part II

Now, the second part of my plan is related to our decision recently to stop getting our local newspaper. This was a difficult decision - I have been reading the daily newspaper since I was a kid. But the local paper has become so uninformative that I just can't justify keeping it. And, yes, I know I am contributing to the demise of print journalism, something I am not proud of. But I hate to keep paying more money for a product that does not satisfy. I tend to read the NY Times online with a few other blogs and online magazines daily. We can even do the Jumble online each day.

So I am challenging myself to keep up with other print material we continue to get at home, either weekly or monthly. These include

1. The Economist - I subscribed about a month ago but it has not started arriving yet. We have subscribed to the Economist before and it seems that after a few weeks I get behind and can never catch up. I challenge myself to read it weekly. It is a joy to read. You can learn so much about parts of the world you rarely even think about.

2. New Scientist - I replaced Discover with this weekly that should start any day now. I challenge myself to read this one weekly as well.

3. The Atlantic - I usually do get this one read, unless I carry it somewhere to read and misplace it. That seems to happen too often.

4. Hadassah Magazine - I get this with my Hadassah membership. I only joined to get a discount on camp tuition for the kids but this magazine has some good articles almost every month. I'm going to keep up with this one as well each month.

So that's it, my reading challenges for 2009. Also to read my monthly book club book. And to just keep reading novels and nonfiction. And memoirs and travel books. As the saying goes, Too many books, so little time. And magazines. PRM

Reading Challenges for 2009 - Part I

First, I plan to take the Jewish Literature Challenge. The rules are as follows -
What: Reading at least 4 books by Jewish Authors or about Judaism

When: December 21, 2008 (Beginning of Hanukkah) to April 27, 2009 (End of Passover)

My tentative list includes
1. The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman - This one has been on my wish list at paperbackswap.com for months. Finally I checked it out at the library Saturday and have started reading it already.

2. O Jerusalem! by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre - This one has been on my TBR shelf for awhile. Time to get it down and read it.

3. Four Mothers by Shifra Horn - I stole this title from someone else's list. The library had it and it looks good.

4. My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq by Ariel Sabar PRM

Monday, December 29, 2008

Triple 8 Reading Challenge - Wrap Up

Last January I decided to take the Triple 8 Reading Challenge, to read 8 books in 8 categories in 2008. That would mean reading 64 books. Or at least 56, since up to 8 can qualify for 2 different categories.

I read 52*. I didn't actually meet the challenge. But I still think that is quite an accomplishment. And I didn't include any books that I read to or with Noach.

The reading challenge had the desired effect, though. I kept reading. I found the categories restrictive, but in truth, I got around that by eventually having categories that allowed me to read whatever I wanted to. I think that was a bit unfair and I am not proud of it, but frankly, it worked for me. And I met MY goal which was to read more.

What was my favorite? Foreign Correspondent by Geraldine Brooks

Which did I think I would never finish but couldn't quit either? Madame Secretary by Madeline Albright

What YA book should every teen read? The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Shermie Alexie. This book is a close second to my favorite. I loved this book.

Highly recommended? Purple Hibiscus, Does my Head Look Big in This?, Bel Canto. I could go on.
Next - plan for 2009. PRM
* oops, corrected count, that I hope is right now. And what the hell is wrong with the font at the end of this post?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Chanukah

Homemade applesauce, made with Granny Smith apples, and latkes, potato and zucchini. The latter looked more like hash-greens, according to Yakov.The dreidel pinata takes a whack from Shoshie. I bought the candy so it's filled with cherry and mint kisses. And some tootsie roll pops for everyone else. Nothing for the dog, who required restraints and removal. PRM

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

From last year. New photos soon. PRM

Monday, December 22, 2008

First day

The first night was done at home without me. I am with my parents in Tennessee because my 91yo dad has had a stroke. He will be going to a rehab center this afternoon and I will be coming home tomorrow. So our first mama's latkes and applesauce evening will be Tuesday. PRM

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A little word of warning

to other homeschooling parents. If your son/daughter wants to go to college, keep good records. Write down every book, every movie, every play. I wish I had.

Now, back to the course descriptions - was that Hamlet or Macbeth we saw? I remember it being dark and warm and I was a little sleepy. And it was 3 years ago.

The only consolation in all this - Noach' s college application process should be a breeze. Unless I get sloppy again. PRM

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

A little brighter and a little bigger. PRM

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Last physics lab

Yesterday we did the last of the physics labs before starting biology in January. I don't think I did a good job with physics. I have done biology several times so I think I will do better.

I was looking for something fun and pretty to do on our last day. There were only 4 kids there so I divided them into 2 groups. We did this experiment, Seven Layer Density Column by Steve Spangler, but I only had 6 layers. I had the kids take 100ml of each liquid and get the mass. We put them in order, from most dense to least. I explained density and then we played with the liquids. Which ones mix, which ones layer.

At the last we added each of the 6 liquids in order of density, making the pretty column. I had failed to notice that, according to the groups, the water had more mass than the Dawn detergent, so they were added to the column in that order. When poured the Dawn, it nicely distributed between the water and the corn syrup, making an "ohhh" moment for everyone.This picture comes from the play time. Of course, I forgot to get a picture of the very pretty 6 layer column.

Finally we had a group lunch with everyone bringing lunch and treats to share. It is such a pleasant group of families. PRM

Friday, December 12, 2008

Having biological fun

This week we did one of my favorite labs, Egg-cellent Ideas for Osmosis and Diffusion from The Science Spot. Noach is reading about cells and cell membranes.

First we dissolved the eggshell of 2 eggs in vinegar. After finding their mass, we took the naked eggs and put one in blue water and the other in karo syrup. They were refrigerated for 24 hours and then examined and the mass measured again.
Egg 2, was placed in syrup, which was hypertonic relative to the egg white. Water passed through the membrane by osmosis and the egg was somewhat deflated. It was 11.9 g lighter. We also noted that the karo syrup had a layer of water on top of it, because the water was less dense than the syrup.
Egg 1 which had been in blue water was tense when taken out. The membrane was thick and blue. Water moved into the egg because the water was hypotonic relative to the egg white which has proteins dissolved in it. The egg's mass increased only slightly, 4.7 g, but that was enough to make the blue water inside the membrane to squirt when pierced.

Science fun! PRM

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh, a pretty butterfly

Thank you, thank you to The Ridge School where one can always find such beautiful photos.

Well, I spend too much time each morning with my favorite blogs and it is very hard to tag only a few. Many have already been tagged and I am trying not to re-tag anyone. Just link back to me and then tag your own favorite blogs, up to 10.

Learning Through Living
- always inspirational.

Derfwad Manor - just perfect for a morning chuckle

The Thinking Mother - almost makes me miss living in Connecticut. Almost.

Now back to trying to get Yakov into college. Who knew how much paperwork the schools were doing for the high school senior that I am trying to do now. And I don't naturally speak educationese. PRM

Wordless Wednesday

Why we finished the basement - for Dad and his Boys.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dear Aunt H,

Uncle J and A,

Thank you for letting me stay with you during our recent trip. It was nice to wander around your house, nap on the sofa, and eat out of my own dishes rather than being penned up in a kennel with a bunch of noisy stranger dogs. I am glad I was able to meet your neighbors on our pleasant walks. I wish I could have spent more time with Kiki, Sammy and Tammy but I appreciate their sharing their home with me. I still wonder what a hamster's butt smells like. Maybe next time.

Love, your doggy nephew, Jasper

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Reminiscing in Clarksdale during our recent trip

JP and his mom looking in the window of his zayde's store in downtown Clarksdale

The bus station where the child, JP, would arrive from Memphis to visit his Bubbe and Zayde

Crossing the Sunflower River

He has what strange cats want