Friday, August 13, 2010

Grocery or Garden?

There are many American children who believe that vegetables come from the grocery store. In our family, we know that this is not the case. We grow our own garden in our backyard every year, even though this year it wasn't exactly a stellar one. For me, I see roughly three main parts to growing our garden: the work at the beginning, the produce at the end of the year, and the experience and knowledge to do better next year. Then it repeats. All of these steps are important to having a healthy and fresh garden.

The work is the hard(obviously), part, but also the most satisfactory. For our family, it is buying seeds, roto-tilling the garden, digging and planting, and then the weeding. The weeding is the hardest part because, even with Preen, it just keeps coming back. With all of the other things, they are hard, but are more money/time consuming. This is the part that, for me anyways, seems to fly by.

The produce is fun because it keeps giving from the middle to the end of the season. You have fresh food that is far better than from stores, and is even better than that because your hard work and preparation went into it. Plus, you now have plenty of veggies to eat in your own back yard. And for us, well, we always have too much left over, and then it's good to give away that fresh taste to other people.

The experience and knowledge piece helped us a lot on our first year. An example is: don't plant the watermelon so late! If something goes wrong in your garden, sorry, but good for you. That will let you learn for next year. And many times, it would result in much less work, and much more produce. We have learned a lot through trial and error.

Our family has learned that worked-for produce tastes much better than what we buy at the store. Even though you have to use three main hard steps, instead of one quick and easy step. While the work is hard the produce, knowledge, and experience are so worth it.

-Written by N

Monday, June 14, 2010

Why I Can't Stop Reading

I just can't stop reading! Everyone I know knows I love to read. When I pick up a book, I get so completely engulfed in whatever it is. I meet new people. I can't hear anything or anyone who's talking to me, and sometimes that gets me into trouble, but I can't help it. My current can't-drop-it-so-don't-even-try-to-talk-to-my-book is Kyle's Island, by Sally Derby. (Momma interrupted me from it to write this :) I actually love writing almost as much as reading. I've started 2 different books, (one of them I think is pathetic, and I've given up on,). The one I'm currently writing is sort of mix of pretty much every type of writing you can think of except for mystery. I'm getting pretty far on it, if page 42 font size 12 is far, which I think is a great way to combine writing and reading. I also think of it as a sort of hideaway. If I need to get away, I read. It's an incredibly good distraction.

When I read, it's like I'm being sucked into a different world. I feel descriptive words, for instance, when I read the sentence, "An sharp, icy wind cut through the woods, making him shiver," I feel an unnatural, unexplainable, involuntary shiver running through my spine. If I hear "She ran through the cobble streets, hearing the tap, tap of her shoes against the ground," I actually hear the tap, tap of shoes on cobble streets. It might seem a little creepy to you to be that interacted, that involved, with a book. That's just the way I feel. I don't know if it's normal. I just know its what happens for me.

When I read, I meet new people who I never would've gotten to meet, and I'm attached to them like I'm related to them. I match their emotions, sometimes so much so, I even make an attempt to imitate the look on their faces. In fact, I'm so attached, it reminds me infinitely of the empathy link between Grover and Percy in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan. I'm terrified when they are, I'm happy when they are. I know how hurt they feel, when they are torn apart from friends. I really--I suppose I really-- can understand whatever is happening.

Another thing about reading is the tension. I never realize how tightly I hold the book when something bad is happening. I grip it so hard sometimes that I crumple it a bit. To not read, I can't even imagine. at least a quarter of my life would be gone. You might think that that is an exaggeration, but I'm totally serious. It's been one week of this summer, and I already have read 13 books, a total of 2,233 pages. I read a lot! I read every single day, usually whole books. It really helps with my need to read. I always squeeze it in somehow.

Some of my favorite series are Guardians of Ga'hoole, Percy Jackson, The Kane Chronicles, the 39 Clues, and the list goes on and on. I really can't describe nearly how I feel when I read, but I've done my best to explain it. I hope you all read up a great summer, because I will know if you don't. Just kidding. :) I just hope you read more, 'cause if you're not reading, Great Glaux in Glaumora*, you don't know what you're missing!

*A phrase written by Kathryn Lasky in Guardians of Ga'Hoole. To know what it means, read the book! : )

Written by B

Friday, June 11, 2010

What We Did This Week

What did you do this week?

We grilled Ribs, and Italian sausages. They were VERY good!

We read Aesop fables, and stories from Homer. They were VERY good.

Today we read a story written by O. Henry. It was really funny.

We took a walk. Our whole family and Lexie went with.

We went to a whole bunch of baseball games and we are having two today.

This week was kind of special. We had devotions every day. At devotions, we have a Jolly Rancher because God’s word is sweet like honey and honey is sweet like Jolly Ranchers.

What were some of your favorite things and why?

-Josiah: I liked baseball a lot because I hit the ball a lot.

-Elizabeth: I liked throwing up a ball and catching it in the yard.

What do you miss about school?

We miss our classes and seeing our friends.

What summer things are you looking forward to and why?

Josiah: Yellowstone! We hope to have a trip to Yellowstone and its going to be really fun because we are going to pass through Nebraska and we’ve never been in Nebraska. It is going to be really fun to see Old Faithful and by the sidewalk there is hole that has lots of minerals in it.

Elizabeth: Swimming! Because it is really fun. I like the mushroom shaped fountain at our pool because I can swim under the water and it sounds hollow and is really fun.

We think that’s it.

We had a really great week!

Written by J. and E.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Purpose of Summer

Summer vacation is, for some kids, a break from tiresome and boring old school, and a chance to play video games all day. This is obviously not what summer vacation is intended for. Sure, it's OK to play some video games, and to enjoy a break from school, but the main focus' can also be recuperation in between grades, a relaxation time for frustrated feelings, and family time.

The recuperation factor is a time to remember things, store them, and not have the stress of constantly learning something new. School has many demands that are good and sometimes fun, but eventually you need a chance to get away and reflect on it all and remember your good attitude for school's exercises. However, this should not be taken advantage of. You can still work on keeping your knowledge, and learning a tiny bit for the next year. This could be put into effect by getting some sort of workbook and just doing a page a day. It's not to much to ask to take away ten minutes out of a whole day of free time.

Every one needs a little break from school because of frustration or tiredness. This is a time to sleep in and have a bit of time to yourself. It is time to have a break from tests, homework, and all other kinds of stress. It's not that these things are bad, but after almost ten months of it all, people get frustrated and need a break. As much as school is intertwined with your future, no one wants to do it all year, no matter how determined they are. Even if school is fun, everyone is glad when summer vacation comes about.

Spending time with family is important to everyone. Because school is about six and a half hours a day, and homework adds to that, you don't get much time to spend with some of the most important people in your life. Even if it is little things, like reading devotions together, or a friendly game of Chess, at least you won't have to regret not building good relationships with parents, grand parents, or other family. Summer gives a lot of time for making campfires, hosting barbecues, and many other things to do with your family. Even a two player game of Mario Kart can build relationships. Summer is a time to be together, not to play one player games of Call of Duty with no one else around. It also gives time for camping and many family trips.

Altogether, summer is very important and it gives us all many opportunities. School also provides opportunities, but summer is definitely a needed break. Summer vacation is a time for recuperation in between grades, a relaxation time for dealing with frustrated feelings, and for family time. Personally, I'm looking forward to a camping trip at Yellowstone!

-Written by N.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The End of the School Year

The end of school is the best part of school for most kids. They wait 179 days for this day. I, however, have quite a different thought about it. I can’t believe how fast the school year flies by. As I always tell my friends at the end of the year; the days go painfully slow, but the year flies on by. Before you know it, you’re a sixth grader. I can’t help but imagine that what might feel like… a few days to me might feel like a few minutes to Mom. Every year, the end of school is a little sad for me, because of what I’ll be leaving behind: my teacher, my friends. Every year as we go off to summer I realize what I’ll really miss over the months ahead.

I have been trying to get pictures every year of my two best friends, Alex and Shannon. This year was a little different, however. We had a field trip cancelled, and not just any field trip, mind you, but the Big One. The fifth grade field trip to the Indiana Dunes. Many times I’ve heard it’s the best field trip ever. So anyway, we were really upset about it, and some of my friends’ moms got together and planned a trip the day after the last day of school to the Warren Dunes in Michigan. So on the last day of school, I wasn’t as sad as usual. The day after, we headed on down to the Warren Dunes. We had a great time running up and down a nearly vertical dune. I was so happy to see Shannon again, because Alex couldn’t make it there.

Mr. B* (I would never call my teacher this but I am trying to protect his identity!) was really cool. He was extremely funny and helpful. He helped me understand things I just didn’t get. I liked his sarcasm and funny looks when something funny happened. He worked very hard to make the cancelled field trip day an awesome one anyway. We watched most of UP, and we got to have the awesome lunch that we’d had planned for the beach. He made almost every lesson fun, and he seemed to always be smiling. When we had to leave for summer, our family gave him flowers, freshly baked pumpkin bread, and I wrote him a thank-you note. I was glad to have him as my teacher, and it was the best way to end elementary school.

On the last day of school, I always realize that I will be spending time with my family a whole lot more. We always go out to an awesome park to start the summer vacation, and we hang out there with some friends, and have McDonalds. I was really excited that it was summer because I love the 39 clues series, and Mom had been keeping the next book to the series saying I couldn’t read it until summer vacation. So that was an up side. I am planning to do a lot of things with my family such as going to Yellowstone, having Wii time, going on walks, jogging, and all that jazz. So I’ve got a lot to look forward to!

So whether I’ll be hanging out with family, calling my friends, or just daydreaming, I know this will be a great summer, no matter what I had to leave behind. The fifth grade school year has been fun, but it’s time to move on to summer and sixth grade. And whenever I’m writing, like now, I’ll remember C.S. Lewis’s words: “Whenever you are fed up with life, start writing. Ink is the great cure to all human ills, as I have found out long before.” I hope I won’t be too fed up with life this summer!

Written by B.