Saturday, January 29, 2011

Look who's 4 months old!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


That was the report from Tori's test on Monday!

What was so frustrating was that NO ONE bothered to call and tell us this. Finally I got sick of waiting and decided to call and talk to the nurse. She admitted to me that it happens often, that the surgeon orders the test and then is emailed the results but that the results don't get called to the patient. I guess it is a good thing that I called or I doubt we would have ever heard the results!

She is still extremely fussy. I am starting to really think it is reflux. I am going to call the doctor on Monday and see if they agree with me. As much as I hate it, I am thinking we might need to try a reflux med. It is just horrible to hear her cry the way she does, even if she are holding, rocking, carrying her! She goes from HAPPY to MISERABLE in a matter of seconds.....I was going to say MINUTES but it isn't MINUTES it is SECONDS.......

I prefer to only capture the SMILES with the camera!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Science Fair

It's that time of year again! Time for our homeschool group science fair. We had fun working on our projects and presenting them to the group. What amazes me is the transformation in my younger children, how they have become confident speakers, proud of their work! We presented 4 projects: Is Inside or Outside Air Cleaner (Sophia), Catapults (William), the Birthday Paradox (Jacob and Cade) and Dice Roll (Grant).

The Birthday Paradox: This project shows how mathematical probability sometimes contradicts our intuition. Despite the fact that there are 365 days in a year, if you survey a random group of just 23 people there is a 50% chance that two of them will have the same birthday. It further states that if the sample is expanded to just
57 people, the probability rises to over 99%.

First we ran the study using our homeschool group directory from 2009. There were enough child member birth dates to run an additional 12 group samples. In 6 sample
groups (groups 1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11) there were shared birthdays and in 6 sample groups (groups 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 12) there were no shared birthdays, but group #12
did have 3 sets of twins. We had previously decided to exclude twins from our sample since we felt they could impact the data. We then went on to run the study using additional groups (family, 2 online groups and a Moms group).

CONCLUSION: Our sampling of 26 groups of 23 people provided us with results that 15 groups had shared birthdays and 11 groups did not have shared birthdays, which exceeded the probability predicted by the birthday paradox. In 5 of our samples there were even 2 sets of matching birthdays and in 1 sample there were 3 sets of matching birthdays! Each time we merged groups we ended up with at least one matching birthday in the newly created group of 57 (two groups plus an additional person). Our one sample group of 57 (our dad's family) provided us with 3 shared birthdays.

Grant's project was a probability project as well. He wanted to see what number was most likely to appear when you rolled a pair of dice. He ran his trial 155 times and found that 7 and 8 appeared the most often. He had originally thought it would be 7, but after getting the results he did, he understood why he got both number an almost identical number of times.

Sophia decided she wanted to see if outside air or inside air was cleaner. To test this she used 1 1/2 inch squares of white paper covered with Vaseline. She placed on square inside in our dining room and one outside on the porch. Every 24 hours she would replace the square with a new square. She then counted up how many dust and dirt particles were on each square. She ran her trial for 1 week. She decided that outside air was cleaner than inside air.

William enjoyed making and playing with the catapults so much from our science club (see post from last Friday below) that he decided to make some other catapults and show them to everyone. He made 3 additional catapults. His favorite is the mousetrap catapult!

Here are the other designs we made:
Simple catapult using newspaper, tape, rubber band and a spoon:

Catapult using popsicle sticks, tape and rubber band:

And William's favorite, the mousetrap catapult:

Friday, January 07, 2011

Invention Convention--Catapults

Today we had our monthly science club meeting! The kids built catapults and had great fun!

What: Invention Convention Catapults
When: Friday,Janurary 7, 2011 10 AM to 12 PM
Where: Symmes Township Library 11850 Enyart Rd. Loveland, Ohio 45140
Who: Homeschoolers of all ages. Children 12 and under will be expected to have a parent/responsible adult on premises with them during activities, Teens 13 and up may be dropped off.
RSVP: Laura

What will be provided: popsicle sticks, spring clothes pins, caps from plastic bottle, glue
What each family needs to bring:
1) WOOD: block of wood (6 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1 inch deep) and block of wood (1 inch x1 inch x 1 inch )for each catapult you would like to buitd--if someone would like to bring some longer pieces of wood and a small saw we could cut wood there, please let me know,
2) ping pong balls (need at least one per child in your family--I believe they sell these at the $ store)

We will be building these as a group:
I know it is pretty small....but it would demonstrate the idea!
If anyone would like to build other catapults for everyone to see, here are a couple of links or feel free to find another design and bring it with you! I would love to have someone bring one and share it!
The Saga that is Tori continues........
  • Friday, January 7, 2011 1:27 PM, EST
    Tori had a follow-up with her GI surgeon this morning, what I thought would be a routine in and out visit ended up not being so routine.....

    1) Tori has a sacral dimple (depressed area at the top of her buttock) and it is deep enough that the surgeon is sending us for an ultrasound. I have scheduled it for Monday at 8:15 AM. Again...explain to me how we spend 8 weeks in the hospital and NO ONE mentions that it is something we should be concerned about or bothers to order an ultrasound of it??? It could be nothing, it could mean either bladder or spinal cord issues.....

    2) She informs us that there is a 25% chance that Tori will develop a bowel obstruction before she is 2 years old. After that the likelihood decreases dramatically, but for the next year and 9 months, every time the child pukes, spits up excessively or doesn't poop on schedule we are to "note" it and become "concerned".

    3) They want her to start solids NO LATER than 6 months....much against my parenting philosophy, especially given that she is a preemie and our family history of food allergies. Going to have to see if the high risk pediatrician agrees with that recommendation! It also seems to me that if we are worried about bowel obstructions we should be DELAYING solids, not rushing them?????

    Tori of course is completely unfazed by any of this! She was all smiles during her visit!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Wordless Wednesday:

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

What's Cooking? Chicken and Tortilla Dumplings

My friend Martha made this soup and brought it to me one day when Tori was in the hospital and I was having a rather rough is the perfect comfort food and I would have NEVER known without seeing this recipe that the "dumplings" where made from tortillas. My kids LOVED this and I made it tonight dinner...which is why you are getting the recipe because I had to pull it up on the computer!

Chicken and Tortilla Dumplings

6 chicken leg quarters (5 pounds)

8 cups of water

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 (15 ounce) package of 8 inch flour tortillas

Bring first 7 ingredients to a boil in a large Dutch oven; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken, reserving broth in Dutch oven. Let chicken and broth cool. Skin, bone, and cut chicken into bite size pieces; set aside. Skim fat from broth. Add soup to broth; bring to a boil.

Cut tortillas into 2 x 1 inch strips. Add strips one at a time to briskly boiling broth mixture. Add chicken, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent dumplings from sticking together.

Yield: 6 servings. Prep: 15 min. Cook 1hr 10min.

Quick tip: Substitute 8 cups chicken broth for water. Omit bouillon cubes. Reduce salt to ½ teaspoon. Proceed with recipe using 3 to 4 cups chopped cooked chicken.

Note from Martha: I usually use skinless boneless chicken breasts, but I think the dark meat tastes better. My kids always like more noodles and less chicken, so if I ever use chopped, cooked chicken, it is closer to 3 cups rather than 4. I use Kroger brand tortillas and they are 17.5 ounces. I also throw in a couple more tortillas sometimes. The only bad part about this recipe is dropping the tortillas into the broth one at a time. They really do stick together if you throw them in too quickly. It would be great to have one person stirring and the other person throwing in tortillas!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Emily's body art:

Around the World Cooking Club

This is by far one of Sophia's favorite activities each month. William attends the club with her and he seems to enjoy it, but it is definitely Sophia's "THING". This month the focus was on Thai food, I even stayed and helped some! The kids made spring rolls, rice, stir fried veggies, broiled grapefruit and a banana dessert. The only bad thing was that my clothes and skin REEKED of Thai food (heavy on garlic and fish sauce) the rest of the day, to the point that someone asked me "what is that smell" when I entered a local small business!

In case you are interested in the details, here is one of the first emails about the group, send by our fearless leader Kim:

We do have enough interest to form an Around the World Cooking Club. Here are very preliminary details - and I am, of course, open to suggestions, changes etc.

The premise: Meet once a month (Sept - May) to cook a meal from a pre-determined country - a different country would be featured each month. My thought is that we would make an appetizer, a main dish, a side dish and a dessert each month. The kids who participate would be divided into "cooking teams" and each team would prepare one of the items listed above. The teams would alternate, so each group would make at least two main dishes, two appetizers (etc.) over the course of the year. What do you think - did you envision another plan that might work better?

How do we decide what countries?
We'll put this up for vote at our first meeting. I'm thinking for the first meeting, we'll either visit Mexico or Italy, and we can travel from there.

When: This is up for a vote, the only day we can't meet is on Wednesdays - we could work this in once a month on any other day. Time of day is also up for vote: lunchtime (10:30 - 12:30) - or early afternoon (1 - 3) everyone eats lunch first and then samples what was cooked during club.

Where: My original plan was to host this at my house (Eastgate area). This is still the case but I do have a few other options that I'm exploring, I'll let you know if they pan out. Another option would be to float the club from house to house - if that's preferable to other members. Again, I'm happy to host it here monthly.

Cost: Please give feedback. I've thought of two options, the first is that everyone pitches in a family fee... The option I like better is that each family pitches in an ingredient or two monthly based on what we are making. What do you think?

Please let me know what other questions you have - this club will be kid-led, I'll be here for help and any supervision issues, but I really would love for the kids to do the decision making and the cooking. Each month we will decide what the next month will be - I'll provide some recipes and the kids can go from there.

Hope you'll still join us - and please let me know if you have any questions.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy 2011!

I don't think I have ever been so happy to see a year end! 2006 might have given 2010 a run for it's money, but I still think 2010 wins.....of course without 2010 there would be no Tori, so I wouldn't wish it away completely but I am glad its behind me!

A few pictures from last night....I didn't get out the camera until after 10 PM so I missed the departure of some early guests and I didn't get pictures of some of Hannah's friends who came by later!