Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The American's Creed and more...

My youngest son and I have been working on memorizing The American's Creed for awhile now. Once he had it down, I couldn't resist putting it up on Youtube. As I have mentioned previously on my blog, my son still does speech therapy, so I hope you can understand most of what he is saying.

I also have recently come across a couple of homeschooling items that I think are fun and really good educational tools at the same time.

Schoolhouse Rock~~Any kid that grew up in the 70's and early 80's remembers School House Rock! What I didn't realize, was how much valuable educational material was in each and every song.

I decided to use some of the songs in my home school and when I went to reserve the DVD from the library, I found out there was a guide. The guide has all the lyrics and background information on each song. I was amazed as I looked at the lyrics how much educational info was packed into each song.

I also discovered some fascinating tidbits. "Medical schools had requested the Telegraph Line song to show first-year students a simple visual explanation of the nervous system". How cool is that? Also, here is a neat story connected with The Preamble song:
This was the winner for most-hummed-during-history-tests. In New Canaan, Connecticut, an American history high school teacher was startled to hear musical murmuring during the exam. Her students were singing "The Preamble," and they all passed.

H is for Honor! (A Military Family Alphabet)~~I stumbled onto this book by accident, but it is wonderful and I highly recommend it. The author, Devin Scillian is an army brat and he has great insight on the military. Even I learned a lot while reading it.

We the People! (The story of our constitution)~~This is Lynne Cheney's latest history book for children. I LOVE all of her children's history books, and have bought most of them. If you haven't read any of them to your kids, they are a must read! Here are her other titles:
~~When Washington Crossed the Delaware
~~America: A Patriotic Primer
~~A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women
~~Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America

Everything You Need to Know About World History Homework~~This series is AWESOME!! It boils everything down to bullet points on what you need to know about whatever subject its covering. I have one of these checked out from the library, but I plan on buying the whole series. Here are the other titles in the series, Everything you need to know about:
~~American History Homework
~~English Homework
~~Geography Homework
~~Science Homework
~~Math Homework

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Blogger Wedding!

Several years ago, as many of us ventured out into the blogging realm, a group of us became friends! We aren't and weren't all friends with the exact same people, but many of the circles overlapped and it was a bonding experience to interact with others who were as passionate about politics as we were.

Lone Pony was one of my early friends, she and I had a lot in common and we both lived in the same area of Missouri. We were kindred spirits in many ways, and after blogging for about a year, we met! At that meeting, she talked about how she was going to get to meet one of our other blogging friends, ABFreedom in Canada. Awhile later, several of us noticed "signs" that made us suspect that they were dating ;-). Fast forward to today, and we have a blogger wedding!!!

I was honored that they asked me to be a witness! They plan on having a larger ceremony later, but they are officially hitched!! Congratulations to Lone Pony and Abfreedom!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Favorite Target Christmas Commercial 2009!

This is my favorite Christmas commercial this year, for my favorite store, Target!! I love the little girl laughing so hard she has to laugh into the pillows, that would've been me growing up ;-)!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Special History Editon of Conservatism With Heart!

 LIVE TODAY at 9:00-10:00 am CST!! To listen, go here!!
Interview with Actor/Historian Jim Cooke
To be a part of the show, call in, toll-free 1-877-864-4869!! To listen to podcasts of my previous shows, go here!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Week in Review!

1) Obama's Afghanistan Speech--I don't even know where to start on this debacle. Obama was trying to appease both sides by cutting the baby in half and ended up pleasing no one. Its an illogical strategy, which even CBS's Bob Schieffer admitted:
"How do you on the one hand say: ‘We need to send these troops over there; it’s critical; this is in our national-security interest to do this.’ But then say: ‘But we’re only going to keep them there for 18 months; we’re going to start to withdraw them after 18 months’? I just don’t understand the logic of how that works. It seems to me that what the president did tonight was try to make a speech that had a little something for everybody … I don’t understand, Katie, how you can set a deadline on what you’re going to do. This is not a football game, where the time runs out. To win this war, you have to defeat the enemy."

Also, Obama continues to show himself as a man of absolutely no class, by taking every opportunity to bash Bush and his administration. Bush never did the same to Clinton, who gave him more than enough material to work with. Politics aside, one would have to say that Bush has always had class, and Obama has had none.

Rumsfeld didn't take this latest false charge lying down, he came out swinging:
"The president's assertion does a disservice to the truth and, in particular, to the thousands of men and women in uniform who have fought, served and sacrificed in Afghanistan."

Dick Cheney weighed in also, yeah, this is why I love these men!!

I also must mention that when I heard Obama declare that we were no longer an "innocent" country, my blood pressure shot up. Not only does he take every opportunity to bash Bush but he takes every opportunity to bash his own country as well. Its beyond despicable!!

2) I love Dennis Miller!

3) Liberals are in denial about Climate Gate!

4) Obama promised 3.7 million jobs with his stimulus plan, instead we've lost 3.6 million jobs!

5) Chris Matthews keeps defining the New Low--Lets call the finest of our very own, the men and women at West Point, the enemy camp. Matthews must be competing with Keith Olbermann for biggest jerk of the year.

6) The Supreme Court Gets one Right!

7) How many violent criminals did Mike Huckabee set loose on society to kill again? We know he pardoned a rapist who immediately went on to rape and kill again. Now, a man he gave clemency to has gunned down 4 police officers. This is all part of a pattern of Huckabee being a conservative on a few social issues, but being a liberal on many others. He obviously wasn't tough on crime while Governor of Arkansas.

He also refuses to accept responsibility, saying it was a failure of the Arkansas judicial system. You've got to be kidding me. This is just another reminder of why Huckabee is a disaster for the GOP!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sarah Palin Smorgasbord!

Sarah Palin is an authentic American!--Ann Coulter

Sarah Palin's book, Going Rogue hit bookstores this past week. It was a bestseller before it even got on the shelves, and sold 300,000 copies the first day. Palin started on her book tour and her first stops were in Michigan and Indiana. My Mom surprised me by calling me last week and telling me that she had just met Sarah Palin. She had driven 2 hours to Fort Wayne, Indiana and waited forever to get Palin to sign 2 copies of her book, one for herself and one for me.

Palin also did all the interviews last week: Oprah, Barbara Walters and many others, some of which I highlight below. Every show she appeared on skyrocketed in the ratings. Oprah had her best ratings since 2007.

While many liberals seem to be suffering from Palin Derangement Syndrome, she is enjoying higher favorability ratings with the American people than Obama:
Sarah Palin Favorable Rating 47%… Barack Obama Job Approval Rating 46%

--Rush Limbaugh's Interview
As far as I know, Rush got the first radio interview. It was a huge deal for two reasons, one being that Rush is the king of talk radio and the other being that he hardly ever has guests on.

He rocked because he ONLY asked policy questions since, Oprah had asked NONE!!

--Sean Hannity's Interview
Hannity got the first cable interview!

--CBS's Harry Smith interviews Ann Coulter on Sarah Palin.
Coulter is unflappable, as always, during the above interview. Yet, I found myself wanting to smack Smith, because his every word was dripping with condescension. The Drive By Media just can't hide their contempt when talking with successful conservatives.

Coulter was able to make several good points about Palin despite the contempt. Coulter pointed out that Palin has massive influence and that McCain was the media's favorite Republican.

--Bill O'Reilly and Bernie Goldberg talk about O'Reilly's interview with, and other responses to, Sarah Palin.
Bernie is right when he says liberals have Palin Derangement Syndrome and Jon Stewart has it. It amazes me how liberals dismiss Palin as being stupid, etc... and yet, they seem to be extremely threatened by her. They know that she is resonating with millions of Americans because as Ann Coulter said, she is authentic.

I also wonder if Chris Matthews realizes how ridiculous he has become.

--Dennis Miller's Interview
I love Dennis Miller and I love how he interacts with Sarah Palin! I need to keep harassing my local station to dump Michael Savage and replace him with Dennis Miller instead.

Others weigh in with their thoughts:
--Goldberg on Palin
--Cal Thomas on Palin

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trip Post 5--Mt. Rushmore!

Mt. Rushmore was my kids' least favorite site, but it was one of my favorites. We also visited this one on the 80's trip when I was 10, but I was glad to see it again as an adult.

First of all, I love all 4 of the Presidents that are carved into Mt. Rushmore. Second, I enjoyed learning about the sculptor and a lot of the background information this time. Gutzon Borglum was an amazing, patriotic American sculptor. One fascinating fact about Borglum was the Woodrow Wilson memorial he sculpted in Poland. Hitler tore it down when he invaded Poland during World War II. It is widely thought that Hitler purposely destroyed it because of Borglum's public statements against Hitler. Awesome!!

Third, Teddy Roosevelt ended up being a controversial choice. Roosevelt was a personal friend of Borglum's and many thought that Roosevelt hadn't stood the test of history yet to determine whether he was a great president or not. History has proven that Roosevelt was a perfect choice. Although, I found it interesting that many had lobbied for Susan B. Anthony to be the 4th face on the monument. In fact, "in 1937, a bill was introduced in Congress to add the head of civil-rights leader Susan B. Anthony".

The Avenue of Flags has a flag for every state!

Our whole group, both of my parents, me and all 4 of my kids. It was a very cold day, but we were lucky because we just missed the snow. The day we were there it was nice and clear and the snow came in the next day.

The view from Presidential Trail!

My oldest daughter has a nice camera and she got some good shots of this cute chipmunk along the trail.

We saw quite a few of these neat mountain goats!

There were even more deer!

As we were leaving Mt. Rushmore, I blew kisses to the Presidents. My kids thought I was a little weird, can't imagine why!

There were deer everywhere as we were on the winding roads out of the park.

We didn't have time to actually visit Crazy Horse, but my Dad got some pics from the road.

Basic Mt. Rushmore facts:
-A historian named Doane Robinson wanted to bring visitors to South Dakota. So, he hired the famous artist/sculptor, Gutzon Borglum to scuplt a monument into the Black Hills.

-Robinson's original plan for the monument was to have it be of heroes of the American West, but Borglum decided he wanted it to be of national heroes, of American Presidents.

-It took 14 years (from 1927-1941) to carve the faces. It would've taken less (some estimate that it would've taken 6 years), but there were often delays because of lack of funds.

-About 400 workers helped carve, cut and blast the faces.

-The men hung from cables off the side of the mountain to work on Mt. Rushmore.

-Gutzon Borglum died before the monument was finished, so his son Lincoln (named after Abraham Lincoln) finished the work.

-Mt. Rushmore is the largest work of art on earth.

-In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge was vacationing in the Black Hills. While he was there, Borglum persuaded him to support and give a speech promoting Mt. Rushmore. He did so decked out in cowboy boots ;-).

-Mt. Rushmore wasn't officially dedicated until July 3, 1991 by President H.W.Bush.

-The 4 Presidents on Mt. Rushmore are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln

--Borglum was personally friends with Teddy Roosevelt and his choice of him for the fourth carving was controversial. Some had wanted the last face to be Susan B. Anthony.

--Mount Rushmore by Susan Ashley
--Mount Rushmore by Dana Meachen Rau
--What is Mount Rushmore? by Laine Falk
--Mount Rushmore by Susan Koehler
--Mount Rushmore by Andrew Santella
--Mount Rushmore by Laura Hahn
--Discover Mount Rushmore

Related Posts:
Trip Post 1--Grand Canyon!
Trip Post 2--Sequoia National Park!
Trip Post 3--Yosemite National Park!
Trip Post 4--Redwood National Park!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Trip Post 4--Redwood National Park!

During the Summer of 1980, when I was around the same age as my youngest son, my parents took my brothers and I on a trip out West. On that trip, we didn't make it to the Grand Canyon, Sequoia or Yosemite but we did make it to the Redwoods.

My parents were much more adventurous and energetic than I, and we camped during that entire trip. Of course, having tent camped so much during my childhood, I now say thats why I'm a cabin girl. I've served my time tent camping ;-)! It doesn't help that my Dad worked for the U.S. Forest Service. So, we stayed at their campgrounds which never had running water, which translates to no showers and no flushing toilets.

Anyway, I digress, during that visit we saw tons of the above Banana slugs while camping. During this trip, this was the only one we saw and my Mom said it was much smaller than all the ones we saw during the '80 trip.

We also saw lots of Roosevelt Elk, named after one of my favorite presidents, Teddy Roosevelt. I got to see Teddy Roosevelt mentioned at most of the parks because of his conservation efforts and his love for wildlife, nature and parks in general.

Recently, I was grading my daughter's homework and I found this quote in her History curriculum that I thought was excellent. It shows the difference between Teddy Roosevelt's love for nature and some modern day environmentalists:
Unlike most modern-day environmentalists, Theodore Roosevelt did not believe that nature should be preserved for nature's sake. He believed that the nation's natural resources were to be managed for the benefit of future generations.

Of course, even as a 10 year old during my first trip to the Redwoods, I was amazed by these magnificent trees. They are just phenomenal!

We hiked for awhile down some paths and the forests are just beautiful. God's creation is breathtaking. They had these huge 3 leaf clovers, I picked a couple which I pressed to put in my scrapbook.

Basic Redwoods Facts:
-Redwoods are the tallest living things on the planet and among the oldest living things on the earth
-Redwoods have a built-in resistance to disease, insects and fires because their wood contains a chemical called tannin
-Redwood National Park is located in Northern California
-Jedediah Smith was the 1st American known to explore the Redwoods area
-The movies "Return of the Jedi" and "Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World" included scenes from Redwood National Park
-The Roosevelt Elk are one of the largest animals at Redwood National Park. They were named after Teddy Roosevelt who helped save them from extinction.

--The Redwood Coast
--Welcome to Redwood National and State Parks
--Redwood National Park

Related Posts:
Trip Post 1--Grand Canyon!
Trip Post 2--Sequoia National Park!
Trip Post 3--Yosemite National Park!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Trip Post 3--Yosemite National Park!

Yosemite was the only park that we spent two days at. As we entered it on the first day, we got some shots of the granite Half Dome from a distance.

We then headed to Bridalveil Fall. According to all the books I read, the falls were supposed to be dried up by the end of the summer and early fall. Yet, not only were they not dried up, but they were going at full force.

El Capitan is the other famous granite structure at Yosemite. We used my Dad's binoculars and were able to see rock climbers climbing it. People come from all over the world to climb it.

When I was looking up books for the kids for the trip, I stumbled upon a book about the Yosemite murders. Since, I have an interest in crime stories I decided to read it on the trip. One of the women that Stayner murdered, worked at Yosemite and had done some rock climbing on El Capitan. She had to sleep over night in a sling hanging off of it, because you can't climb El Capitan in just one day.

Yosemite Falls was a little easier to get close to than Bridalveil had been.

We got to see yet another bear. This one was a little farther away and was resting most of the time.

This sign cracked us up because there seemed to be no concern for injuring people, just make sure you don't hurt the bears!

This was the gorgeous view from Glacier Point!

I made sure to take the picture of the above ledge because of a book I bought at the gift shop. The book is entitled, Pioneers in Petticoats. Its about Yosemite's early women from 1856-1900. As you can see from the cover below, it shows 2 of the first women to explore Yosemite doing kicks off the edge of the ledge. When you actually see it in real life, its even more terrifying to envision them doing that.

Basic Yosemite facts:
-1864-President Lincoln signed a bill to protect Yosemite Valley
-1890-Yosemite was only the 3rd to become a national park
-Yosemite is located within the Sierra Nevada mountains in Central California
-John Muir fought to protect Yosemite
-3.5 million people visit Yosemite in a typical year
-El Capitan is the world's largest exposed granite cliff
-There are 3 groves of Sequoia trees with Mariposa grove being the largest and most famous
-The most famous and the oldest living Sequoia in Yosemite is Grizzly Giant which is in Mariposa Grove
--The Yosemite Murders
--Yosemite National Park
--Yosemite National Park (Symbols of Freedom)
--Welcome to Yosemite National Park
--Yosemite National Park (National Parks)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Trip Post 2--Sequoia National Park!

Sequoia National Park was my kids' favorite park out of the 5 we visited. It wasn't because of the spectacular trees, although, they were impressed. It was because we got to see 5 bears up close in the wild.

Also, 2 hikers had been missing for over a week and were found on the day we visited. I bought local newspapers on the trip, whenever I got a chance, and I had read about the missing hikers that morning. During the day, we saw the rescue helicopter, and that night on the news we saw that they had been found.

We started out at a Visitor's center, and then made our way to "The Sentinel Tree".

After that we made our way to Moro Rock. My parents and the kids and I started up the 400-step stairway to the top. The older 3 kids sped ahead with my Dad. My Mom was walking slowly and my youngest son and I were taking each turn as it came. I finally got to a certain part, and in my mind I knew I wasn't going up any higher. At the same time, my son said he was ready to head back down, so it worked out well ;-). The older kids and my Dad made it to the top. They were literally in the clouds, and the view was wonderful.

Its amazing when you see people, or even a vehicle next to the trees. It gives you some perspective on how awesome they are.

We then headed to "General Sherman", which is the biggest living thing in the world. Redwoods are taller, but Sequoias are bigger.

We were walking back up the trail from seeing "General Sherman" when we saw the bears. The kids had run ahead, which we heard many times later at that park and others, "children should not run ahead because of bears and mountain lions, etc..".

The bears were completely oblivious to the fact that we were there. Before we arrived, we found out that a Mama Brown Bear had gotten into a spat with a Black Bear because the black bear had gotten too close to her cubs. Mama Bear had 2 cubs and she was way up in a tree whipping down pine cones to them. There was also another brown bear on the scene. It was amazing how close we were to them. My Dad worked for the U.S. Forest Service his whole life and this was his first time seeing bears in the wild. It was a sight to see.

I made sure I was close to my kids and after awhile we figured we shouldn't tempt fate anymore, and we left.

Basic Sequoia National Park facts:
--There are 388 National Park Areas in the U.S.
--Sequoia National Park was created in 1890
--John Muir was instrumental in protecting/preserving this park as well as Yosemite and others
--It is located in Central California
--It is high in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range
--It is famous for having some of the biggest trees in the world
--There are 2 surviving kinds of Sequoia trees--the redwood & the giant sequoia
--The Sequoias can live for more than 3,000 years, in part because they are fire-resistant
--There are about 30 Sequoia groves at the park
--One of the largest is the "Giant Forest"
--The "General Sherman" tree is located in the Giant Forest, it is named after the famous Civil War general and the tree is the BIGGEST living thing in the WORLD

--Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trip Post 1--Grand Canyon!

"The one great sight...every American should see."--Theodore Roosevelt

My trip out West was awesome! I went with my parents and my kids. We survived the thousands of miles of car travel, fast food and motels. My Grandmother was turning 90 and she lives in Washington. So, on the way to Washington for her 90th Birthday party we stopped off at some sites.

We went to the Grand Canyon, Sequoia National Park, Yosemite, Redwoods National Park and Mt. Rushmore. I decided to do a post on each site so I could post pictures on each one.

I had never been to the Grand Canyon so, I was pretty excited about seeing it. We were fortunate that we had good weather at every park we went to. It was a little chilly at the Grand Canyon, but the skies were clear.

I was amazed and somewhat concerned about how close to the edge you were able to get at certain places. I was especially nervous having all of my kids with me. My youngest made a big deal when he turned 9 that he was too old for me to hold his hand anymore. Not only did he make an exception at the Grand Canyon, but he told me that if "I wasn't holding his hand, he might faint." It was very cute!

Since, I homeschool this trip automatically gets turned into an educational field trip ;-). My 15 year old daughter lamented about this. Yet, I enjoyed learning along with my youngest from all the different books we read on the different parks. Below are just a few things that I learned.

Basic Grand Canyon facts:
--Became a national park in 1919
--Its located in Northwestern Arizona
--It is 277 miles long
--5 million people visit the park each year
--90% of those people see the canyon from the South Rim
--It takes 5 hours by car to get to the North Rim, so fewer people see it from there
--You can hike or take a mule train to get to the bottom of the canyon
--The Colorado River flows through it (some take rafting trips down it)
--Major John Powell lead an expedition through the Canyon in 1869

Plants & animals that we saw:
--Yucca plant

--Grand Canyon for kids!
--Welcome to Grand Canyon National Park
--Exploring Canyons
--Grand Canyon National Park
--Grand Canyon National Park