New Mexico Bucket List – V ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet V image

There are some things in New Mexico that seem just, well, strange. As we noted in an earlier post, one of these is volcanoes in New Mexico. The other is what is called the Very Large Array or VLA. Let’s visit the VLA first.

VLA A024,_VLA_Radio_Telescopes,_New_Mexico,_USA,_2001

By Brian W. Schaller – Own work, FAL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30495896

The Very Large Array is an astronomical radio observation station. You will find the VLA about 50 miles west of the city of Socorro, out on the plains. There are 27 of the radio antennas out there, positioned in a large Y shape. Each of the antennas is 82 feet in diameter. The uniqueness of this is that each of the signals is combined to essentially create a single signal from what is the equivalent of a receiver 22 miles by 422 feet.

VLA Karl_G._Jansky_Very_Large_Array_(8279314499)

By BriYYZ from Toronto, Canada – Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25905886

So what does the VLA actually do? From the National Radio Astronomy Observatory site, “Radio astronomy is the study of celestial objects that give off radio waves. With radio astronomy, we study astronomical phenomena that are often invisible or hidden in other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.” The gathered information is used by astronomers around the world.

On northward now to the Valles Caldera National Preserve. I think I may have put park on the image that I made for this week but it is technically a preserve, handled under the National Park Service. This area is located in the north-central part of the state in the Jemez Mountains. The preserve includes most of the caldera created by an eruption many, many years ago. A caldera is formed when the ground collapses into the magma chambers as the magma is erupted in a series of eruptions. (Yellowstone is another example of a caldera.)

The caldera is dormant, though not extinct. According to the NPS site, there are signs of volcanic life including boiling sulphuric acid fumaroles and hot springs. This area is considered one of the world’s best examples of an intact volcanic caldera.

In addition to the volcanic history found here, there is also plenty of examples of human history. This area was widely used for hunting and gathering lifestyles prior to the agricultural lifestyle that came about. The area has great obsidian deposits and many native cultures treasure the area and its resources. There is also a history here of the Spanish and Mexican settlements in the area, including some important land grants.

Valles Caldera Mountain_Bikers1

mountain bikers at Valles Caldera photo from National Park Service

The park is a beautiful place and there are many activities visitors can participate in. Of course, there is hiking and camping. There is fishing, horseback riding, visiting historic sites, mountain biking, and other activities including ranger-led options.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blogging Through The Alphabet V vertical image

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Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

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You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
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* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

New Mexico Bucket List – U ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet U vertical image

Late again. I don’t know how these summer weeks are flying by so fast but I look up and I have missed it again! This week, though, I think I will blame it on the UFO. 🙂

Yes, we are going to head over to eastern NM to visit Roswell. Roswell is known to any sci-fi person as the place where the UFO crashed in 1947. Well, the story goes that it actually crashed about 70 miles northwest of Roswell, which is close to Capitan, in the Capitan mountains. There is a lot of story to this and the more you read, the more you find, plausible or not. Who knows where the truth actually lies since there are more angles to the story than people to tell them.

Roswell has lots to share about the UFOs and aliens. The International UFO Museum prides itself on being the top international place for UFO research and artifacts. There is a festival held in Roswell every year. I believe that happens on a weekend around July 4th since that is the date that the UFO is believe to have crashed.

If you want to read more about the UFO crash, you can visit the History channel. The first video is kind of interesting and the second one (the one with the background of the cows) was actually the radio broadcast of the press release about the UFO. Do be careful if you have little ones around as there is one video (the one under the heading about Project Mogul) that had an intro that had a couple of images that startled me and I did not watch the whole video.

Anyhow, if you find aliens interesting or want to read more about the Roswell Incident, perhaps these will help or you can just do a Google search. That turns up quite a few options.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blogging Through The Alphabet U image

Be sure to visit the linkup, though I do believe I have missed it myself. There are plenty of other posts to read for the letter U that will be interesting.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

abcblogging image lg

You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

Crafty Classroom USA Bundle ~ a Crew review

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When the USA Activity Bundle Pack came up for review this year from Crafty Classroom, I knew it was a product I wanted to use. It is a fun way to approach learning about the United States. The bundle includes three PDF files:Screenshot 2019-07-17 at 12.45.08 PM

  1. USA State Birds
  2. USA 50 State Mazes
  3. USA Activity Pack

50 state mazes

USA 50 STATE MAZES

20190629_151857This file includes one maze for each of the 50 states. The maze is in the shape of the state. In the process of working through the maze, the student views the shape of the state and can become more familiar with it. Each maze is challenging yet fun. I do believe that the size at which you print these will make a difference in the challenge level. I printed them at half-size, two to a page and made a booklet out of it. This definitely added to the challenge of the mazes but it was fine for my 10 year old.

50 state birds

USA STATE BIRDS

The realistic art cards for the state birds includes a picture of the birds that are the symbol of a state (so less than 50 since several are shared by states), space to write facts about the bird or describe the bird, and a set of small cards with the name of the bird on one and the picture of the bird on the other. I again printed this half-size and made it into a booklet. I am not fully happy with this version of it. The writing lines are a better size for Miss J at this size but it makes it harder to color the bird with all its markings. Also, in a booklet form, we cannot cut the smaller cards out to use in a matching game. Miss J really wants me to take this to a printer and have it printed in color for the matching cards.

50 states activity notebook

USA STATE-BY-STATE ACTIVITY NOTEBOOK

This PDF file contains one page for each of the 50 states. Each page asks the student to identify several symbols for the state. There are several activities for each state.20190710_153706

  • a flag to color
  • a place to color the state on a map of the US
  • a map of the state to mark the capital, rivers, lakes, and mountains (if desired)
  • a place to mark the state abbreviation, the state # of when it joined the union, it’s nickname, the state bird name, and the state flower name
  • a picture of the state bird to color
  • a picture of the state flower to color
  • lines to write a fact or two about the state

We pulled a book about the 50 states off of our shelf to use with this activity. Each state has it’s own few pages so it works easily.

The State-by-State Activity Notebook also includes two games at the end of the file. One is USA Bingo and there are several bingo boards to print and use. The other game is Roll Across America, a board game where you would roll a die and move a certain number of spaces. You will need to provide the markers for the bingo game and the die and pieces for the board game. Both games provide variations to learning the states and/or capitals and facts about the states. These would be fun games to have printed out larger than I printed the rest of the file.

We have been using the program informally this summer. Every few days Miss J will pick up one of the booklets and work for a bit on it. She has really enjoyed the mazes. She has done several at one sitting a few times. She has also enjoyed the USA State-By-State Activity Notebook. She spent quite a bit of time working on each state that she has completed. I have allowed her to skip the writing part since we are being informal this summer.

I do plan to use these a bit more formally when we start school in a few weeks. I plan to have her complete three states per week, completing the page in USA State-By-State (include the fact writing), doing the maze if it is not already done, and completing the page in the bird book (if it isn’t already done since some of the states have the same state bird).

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Miss J’s thoughts:

I like this, even though I am not really far. I really like the mazes. The state facts were really fun. It was kind of helpful having a book to do it with. It would have been harder without the book. I really liked the birds and flowers and stuff. There wasn’t really enough space for me to write a fact about the state because there were so many facts to choose from. It would be wise to add another page to the state of just lines to write facts on.

My Thoughts:

This is a neat set to use to highlight the US. We had planned to take a trip this summer through several states and I was going to use this for her in each state we entered. (Plans change when home air conditioners need a major repair, though.) As far of the use this fall, I am going to have her trace our Mega Field Trip from last fall and find each of those states.

This is a neat set that has so many possibilities. There is a lot that could be done with it and it can be adjust and modified to fit the age you are working with and the need you have.

A couple of years ago, we reviewed another product from Crafty Classroom – their paragraph writing program titled How To Write A Paragraph. There are lots of other products available so be sure to visit the shop.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about other products from Crafty Classroom that were being used for summer learning. The products include:

R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook K
R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1
Interactive Math Curriculum Notebook K
Alphabet Letter of the Week Curriculum Notebook
Bible Letter of the Week Curriculum Notebook
Sight Word of the Week Program
Pattern Block Activity Bundle
Fables & Tales
USA Activity Bundle Pack

Click on the banner below to go to the link up for Crafty Classroom.

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Yummy Nuggets ~ recipe

a tasty wheat-free recipe

My mom called the other day to let me know about a recipe she had come across for some wheat-free, healthy cookies. These little nuggets are YUMMY! And they are so simple. I don’t know where she got the recipe but it is a winner.

Do you remember Shaklee? They had these protein bars that I remember liking. A lot. These little nuggets taste like those protein bars we used to get to have once in a while when we were kids. They have a chocolatey outside and a creamy, nutty, sweet, fluffy inside. They are fabulous. And they take just a few minutes to whip up.

At Home Dad thought they were more like a truffle but you can call them whatever you want – cookie, nugget, truffle. I’ll just call them tasty.

The Recipe:

1/2 C nut butter – I used almond. Mom used cashew. You can use peanut or whatever you’ve got.

1/2 C coconut flour

1/4 C maple syrup

Mix these three together. Then roll the mixture into balls. I did mine about 1 inch across. Let them chill in the fridge while you do the next part.

Melt 1/2 C chocolate chips or the equivalent. I did this in the microwave in 15 second bursts at 60% power, stirring in between.

Take the balls out of the fridge and coat them in the melted chocolate. Let them chill a bit longer in the fridge to set the chocolate and you are good to go. You might want to store them in the fridge to keep the chocolate from melting.

Makes about 12. (I halved the recipe and it made 6.)

Enjoy!

Yummy Nuggets

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

Simply Music ~ a Crew review

Simply Music makes beginning piano simple.

Simply Music is an online program designed to teach students of all ages to play the piano by ear or sight (not reading printed music). We have access to their (free) program Music & Creativity – Foundation Course. Music & Creativity immerses students in the actual process of creating music while learning. It is a hands-on program that has the student playing from the first lesson.

simply-music-logo

Miss L, age 13 and with several years of violin in her background, used this program. She has been teaching herself to play the piano by ear for a while now using a 49 key electric keyboard. We had hoped this program would be a good fit for her, teaching her to apply her current musical knowledge to the piano/keyboard.

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The online piano program was developed to get the student playing right away. The video instruction features Neil Moore at a piano with a camera angle that shows what his hands and fingers are doing at the keys. This makes it easy for the student to hear and see what he is doing and imitate what he does. He gives instruction with words, drawings to show shape of musical movement, and showing his hands and the keys.

Screenshot 2019-07-15 at 8.21.59 AM

Example of the drawings that help students learn the movement of a phrase or song.

Simply Music is successful in getting the student playing right away. The first lesson is a song composed by the instructor. This simple tune is one that Miss L could do after hearing it once. We then used the provided accompaniment (instruments and vocals for you to choose from) to play along with. For some, this will raise the level of enjoyment – getting to play as the soloist with a professional  backup group.

These online music lessons cover a variety of ideas, topics, and styles of music. From simple songs to blues, from gospel to some simple classical excerpts. The discussion is helpful and will slowly move the student forward. Using diagrams, chords, and by showing on the keyboard, the student learns the language of music and begins simple playing examples.

Screenshot 2019-07-15 at 8.47.04 AM

The video lessons run between about 2 1/2 and 16 minutes long. These take the student through various key combinations and songs. There are ideas and concepts covered, also. While many concepts are covered with great explanations, the instructor does not give the formal terms to go along with the learning. For example, when he covers chords, he doesn’t use the quality of the chord, only the name – A chord, B chord. It would be so simple to add that in (major, minor, diminished) and to call it a triad, also.

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As you watch the video (you’ll need to register for the free course and have internet access), you will play along on your own keyboard. Once you have played it, have practiced as much as you want, and have used the reference materials (printed and/or audio files of the song and accompaniment), you mark the lesson complete at the bottom of the page and move to the next lesson. You can even move on without marking the lesson complete.

Screenshot 2019-07-14 at 9.27.26 PM

Completing a lesson can take as long as you need it to. If you are loving it and practice all the time, you can move through the lessons very quickly. If you are in the middle yet have a lot going on (as in summertime!), you can work on it steadily and move through a lesson or two a week. Or, you can take several weeks to get your fingers solidly doing what they need to and move on slowly. It is totally up to you.

This program was both exactly what we expected and totally different than we expected. Mr. Moore has a wonderful way of describing music in such a way that you know exactly what he is trying to get across. He truly knows music and how to share it in such a way that the student can understand. He plays music well and his love of music comes through clearly.

That being said, we knew it was likely to be difficult for Miss L to use this program since she has some background in music learning, ear training, and music reading. What she found difficult with the program was actually the style of music. The songs are created to teach a specific idea or hand movement. They are exercises, even though the exercises have an orchestration and/or vocals. It is not a style of music that people will intentionally listen to over and over or use to show off piano skills.

I also felt like the program was missing many opportunities for instruction early on. It would not have been hard to add the formal music terms in at several places. Since I believe music training should prepare people for a lifetime of loving music, the knowledge gained at any given point should be transferable to other styles and performances of music. This transferability seems to be lacking in this program – the knowledge is not transferable to be able to create and perform other music.

online piano lessons for the beginner from Simply Music

Miss L’s Thoughts:

The instructor was very entertaining. Many of his concepts and musical terms were a little below my knowledge, though I have not played piano before. I understand that this program was designed to be used by younger students. I felt like the part I have covered was pretty easy. Where I started at and where I got to was extremely easy. This is definitely not my style of learning.

Final Thoughts:

I think this is a good program and an excellent fit for beginners. Mr. Moore makes music accessible for everyone. He is clear, repeating himself as necessary to really make sure the student understands. He provides hands-on learning that will appeal to many. It is a program that can be tried out for free. So why not give it a try?

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about what other families thought about the Simply Music Music & Creativity – Foundation Course. Click on the image below.

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Dear Lord and Father of Mankind ~ hymn

The history that I find of this hymns is really quite strange. It is part of a much larger poem that tells of a drug-induced state for a pagan ritual and then the closing of the poem is what has been extracted for this hymn. (source: History of Hymns) The truth of that seems likely since it is found on several sites. I find that quite interesting and see such a connection to the current day. Maybe not in drug induced states but definitely in finding things other than God to focus on. When I am focusing on things other than God – be it writing, or schooling, or homemaking, or whatever – I am lacking the purer life mentioned in the first stanza.

I find this a calming hymn. It recognizes my lack. I need the forgiveness God offers. I need to be reclothed. I need to be seeking ways to serve and praise Him. The final stanza gives more ways I should seek to be like Him – quietness, peace, and an ordered life. Through Him, we have a beauty that can only be found through His peace.

Longing for a peaceful hymn that is reflective of what I need, this fits the bill. You can hear it sung on the Great Songs Chapel site or at In Search of the Lord’s Way.

May you find the best way to follow the Lord, seeking His way.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways; reclothe us in our rightful mind, in purer lives thy service find, in.png

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

lyrics: John Whittier Greenleaf (1872)
music: Frederick C Maker (1887)

1 Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways;
reclothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise.

2 In simple trust like theirs who heard
beside the Syrian sea
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word
rise up and follow thee.

3 O Sabbath rest by Galilee,
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity,
interpreted by love!

4 Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.

 

 

 

New Mexico Bucket List – T ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet T vertical image

Turquoise.

Something everyone should associate with New Mexico. Especially considering that it is our state stone.

turquoise stone image from DK Smithsonian Nature Guide: Rocks and Minerals, p 154

image from DK Smithsonian Nature Guide: Rocks and Minerals, p 154

Turquoise is the blue-green stone that is used a lot of native jewelry and decorations. It is extremely pretty and has a ton of variation. Turquoise is found mostly in arid environments. The mineral is generally found in veins rather than as crystals, though some crystalline form have been found. The veins run from a sky-blue to green depending on the iron content of the mineral. Some of it will be really blue while another stone will appear quite green and yet another almost white. Color is highly dependent upon the mine the turquoise is taken from.

You can read a lot more technical information on the stone.

Turquoise has been mined for centuries. There have been beads of turquoise found in ancient Mesopotamian cultures dating back to c. 5000BC. Stone carvers favor the mineral also, including some carvings from China that are known. According to this video, some of the oldest mines are actually in Egypt. There is some interesting information in this video and she shows some lovely pieces.

According to the DK Smithsonian Nature Guide Rocks and Minerals, the name turquoise comes from a French word for the country of Turkey, through which the mineral was first transported to Europe.

Turquoise can be used in any number of ways. Decorations such as dreamcatchers often include a piece of turquoise. SpeakingWood, my dad’s woodshop, is known to include turquoise in his woodwork. Many native people use turquoise in their handmade jewelry. These are just a few of the ways turquoise is used.

Speaking Wood hollow form bowls with turquoise inlay

hollow form bowls with turquoise rims inlaid; copyright SpeakingWood; picture from SpeakingWood

Speaking Wood image of turquoise on a bowl

turquoise stones on a bowl; copyright SpeakingWood; picture from SpeakingWood

New Mexico turquoise is so beautiful that it has had to be regulated. If you are purchasing something that is claiming to be turquoise, especially something new, the seller should have information on which mine it is from. I imagine that the older pieces, of which there are many, do not necessarily have that information.

If you really want to learn about turquoise, you must travel the Turquoise Trail. You can do this in a single day, starting from one of the points on the trail or you can take your time and go more slowly, really savoring all the beauty you will see. Another article on the Turquoise Trail is found in New Mexico magazine and is a really interesting read.

This is just a taste of all things NM Turquoise. It is beautiful and to own a piece of this turquoise is to own a piece of history. Whether it is a squash blossom necklace or a small chunk of beautiful colored turquoise, it is all special.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blogging Through The Alphabet T image 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

abcblogging image lg

You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

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