Posted by: Shari Glass | August 24, 2010

Chicken Mummy Week 3, Week 4, & Week 5

Week 3

Week 3

Week 4

Week 4

Week 4

Week 5

Week 5

I thought about making all these separate posts…but there’s not a whole lot you can say about a dehydrating chicken as the weeks go on.  Yes, we are STILL mummifying the chicken.  Week after week it sits in its two ziplock bags, covered in salt with a little baking soda and powder thrown in for good measure.  Oh yeah, and whatever herbs look good to Micah.  Mostly we’ve been using Si Si Cilantro from Tastefully Simple that I never used.  (Don’t think I could ever use it again either…Makes me think of shrunken chicken just smelling it.)

Week 3 was nothing special.  Salt was less wet, but still had some wet areas, and the salt in the cavity had to be dug out – from dampness.  Week 4 brought a definite change.  You could see where the breast was shrinking away from the skin.  The, um, interesting, oder was mostly gone, and there was a definite hardness to the bird that hadn’t been there before.

Week 5, today, was similar to week 4, perhaps a little more shrunken.  All the salt came off very easily, no more wet spots.  Back into the salt and ziplocks for one more week.  I told the kids we just had one more week to go and they got all excited.  “Hurray, next week we can mummify it.”  Ummm…what do you think we’ve been doing for the last five weeks?  “But that will be the FUN part”  Oh goody, we get to wrap the thing in it’s “outfit”.  Wonder where, and for how long, we’ll GET  to display the bird?

Posted by: Shari Glass | August 13, 2010

There’s a Lizard in the House!

The lizard in our house

By Micah

Today, when I was doing Latin with Dad, Hannah suddenly exclaimed, “There’s a lizard in the house!”

So I told Dad  I needed to pause Latin to go and get the lizard out of the house.  I went over to catch it, but it kept going behind stuff.  The worst part was getting it out from behind the cat litter box.  That was disgusting!  Then, when it went under a bag, I slammed my hand down and caught it.

Hannah and Dad took about 20,000 pictures before i could let it go.  Dad said that it was some sort of amphibian, but I’m pretty sure it was a skink or some other type of lizard.  It was black with yellowish-orange stripes and a blue tail.  It felt very smooth.

Posted by: Brian Glass | August 4, 2010

Classical Education Part 4 – Miscellaneous Observations

In my reading on classical education I have comes across some interesting tidbits that I am not going to take the time to expound upon in depth, but are worth making known.

On Sentence Diagramming: I found a book with some of the most remarkably complex sentence diagrams I have ever seen. The one I’ve included here is by no means the most complex.

On Phonics: Most of the books on classical education you come across these days make a point of criticizing the modern look-say method. They instead favor phonics. While phonics is actually quite a bit older than the look-say method, it is not particularly ancient. It was in fact invented by Blaise Pascal circa 1655. Prior to that full syllables were memorized by students. I’m not suggesting we dump phonics and go back to the syllabic method, but perhaps Dick and Jane weren’t as bad as they’re made out to be. “Is Russia about to forget the lesson of Blaise Pascal?” is an interesting read.

On Composition: For at least 1500 years and probably significantly longer, students have learned pre-rhetorical composition using a Greek approach called the Progymnasmata that is attributed to Aphthonius of Antioch. This basically involves a fair amount of imitation of text and method of excerpts of classic authors. While originally written in Greek, the Latin translation has been used for much of that time. You can actually have a look at the Progymnasmata in Latin. An example of an old English based text using this approach is A booke called the Foundacion of Rhetorike. Both of these are quite impractical for the homeschool, but we did find three hand-holding homeschool programs that are based on these methods in varying degrees:

On Spelling: Noah Webster’s famous speller is also an interesting option for spelling. However, as we found with the composition materials, it is somewhat impractical for the busy homeschool teacher since it doesn’t come with a hand-holding teacher guide.

Posted by: Brian Glass | July 31, 2010

Classical Education Part 3

If you have been following this short series you will recall that I started my study of Classical Education reading The English Grammar Schools to 1660 by Foster Watson. I think I will still come back to finish this book but I have since made a number of detours and not really lost my way, but changed course a bit. I felt there was some sense of urgency since we will be starting a new school year in a few short months.

I acquired a copy of Climbing Parnsassus by Tracy Lee Simmons. I haven’t quite completed it, but it did give me a whirlwind tour of the history of education and a sort of vision of what the purpose of a classical education was at various times. In addition to this I have been spending time helping Shari to sort out where we want to go in a more practical and less theoretical way. While a solid theoretical understanding is important, it eventually comes down to practice.

I have come to realize that what I was really looking for was a “traditional” education. And in the sense that classics are books that have been approved by time, it is very much rooted in tradition. That is, it is passed down from one generation to the next or “traditioned” to the next generation. But alas, what I found in this regard is that much of the living tradition has been broken and consequently lost. My suspicion is that there are little pockets of this important tradition hiding in small schools or monasteries as it happened through the middle ages, but I don’t have access to this. The best I can do is reconstruct from books or follow the example of others who already have. We are The Civilization that had to Teach Itself with its own Books. And in the spirit of tradition I think joining those who have already begun is wisest. This is the reemergence of an ancient tradition.

I have never been humble, but I have finally come to understand that I am truly ignorant. What people took for granted 200 years ago is unknown to me. Yes, I can develop software with the best of them, but does that really make me a better person? Has it taught me to strive for excellence? Do I even know what excellence is?  We stand upon the shoulders of giants and I barely even know who they were and what they thought. This will be mine and Shari’s education as well as our children’s.

In compiling our curriculum for this coming year and tentative plans throughout high school we have found four key curriculum sources that are exemplary models of classical education. By far the most influential in our decisions is Memoria Press and Highlands Latin School. These are essentially one organization. One half is an actual school and the other half is a publisher. We have used their materials and find them to be of high quality. We have talked with their people and found them to be knowledgeable and intelligent. The skeleton of the plan we have developed is based on the Highlands Latin School curriculum with some adaptations for our home-school environment and for Orthodoxy.

Other sources of import have of course been The Well-Trained Mind and The Latin-Centered Curriculum. WTM has been and continues to be very useful as a resource guide. We very much like the philosophy of LCC and appreciate the purity of his program, but we have found it to be a bit over-ambitious. If your kids are geniuses then LCC might work just fine, but we think that Highlands Latin School’s sequence is more practical and age-appropriate. It still functions well as a resource guide. We have also found Kolbe Academy’s curriculum to be useful.

Shari and I will continue to post on this topic and likely post the details of our choices over the coming weeks and months.

Posted by: Shari Glass | July 28, 2010

Chicken Mummy Day 6 and Day 12

Day 6

Day 6

Day 12

Day 12 - Don't you wish you could give it a bath?

Day 12 - Don't you wish you could give it a bath?

Our chicken mummy has lost a bit of its excitement, but we are (or at least I am) still persevering.  We made it from Day 3 to Day 6 before we changed the “salts” again.  Truth be told it probably should have been done again on Day 5…but that is the way things go around here.

I was asked at church this week if it was smelly.  While double ziplocked in bags and under all the salt it doesn’t.  However when you take it out there is an odor.  Not really a rotting odor…but you can still smell the rubbing alcohol that it was last washed in, along with a unique odor.  Not bad, but not entirely pleasant either!

I haven’t made it to Sam’s to look for salt yet (we live in the boondocks and Wal-mart’s 20 min. away; Sam’s is another 10 past that).  But I did discover $0.38 cylinders of salt at Wal-mart.  Problem was, apparently everyone else had discovered them to because there were only 6 containers left.  We originally used the larger boxes of pickling salt.  The table salt is finer and it seems like it takes more of it to cover the bird.

We stretched the next change from Day 6 all the way to Day 12.  Again, it probably should have happened on Day 10.  Some of the salt was starting to look wet by then.  By Day 12 it was all wet.  Every time I take that bird out and dump it’s current salt I have this great urge to wash it off, which would probably NOT be helpful since the whole point is to dry it out.  So I continue to resist the urge to clean the thing up a bit and limit myself to shaking and scraping off as much salt as I can.  (I have this horrible vision of a leg or wing popping off as I’m doing this one day!)

Living in Florida makes one think about bugs more often than some other states, at least the ones I’ve lived in.  Yesterday it dawned on me that these lovely bugs would like nothing better than to get at our mummy.   I decided I was immensely glad that no bugs had made it through the two ziplock bags.  Not that they would…but it was one of those thoughts one thinks as one is shaking salt off a dehydrating chicken carcass.  (And we don’t really have a lot of bugs in our house.  Our Bug Maintenance people – we don’t have exterminators down here because the act of exterminating is apparently impossible – do a great job.)

Technically we should be at the “check once a week”  stage of our chicken in salts.  About 4 more weeks to go.   We’ll see how THAT works out.

I was having trouble getting the lighting right with our camera and yesterday (Day 12) I discovered the perfect setting…the FOOD setting 🙂

Posted by: Shari Glass | July 19, 2010

Lawnmower ramblings

by Shari

Noon on Saturday and I’m out pushing (yeah, we still use a push mower) the lawn mower, mowing the side of our house.  Noon in Florida in July is not the most enjoyable time of day to be out, but that’s how it goes sometimes.   I walk past our next door neighbor who’s riding his mower up and down his side.  I smile and wave.  I wonder if he’s thinking why in the world is she out mowing the lawn and not her husband?  Maybe it doesn’t even cross his mind.

I’m mowing and not Brian for several reasons.  One is the fact that it IS now noon and Mr. Red Head doesn’t do so well out in the sun at this time.  Two is the fact that he’s already been outside longer than I have since I was in with the baby part of the time.  And third and MOST important is that I’ve traded with him.  He watches the baby while I mow!  I rather enjoy the change.

(When I get back inside Brian wonders how I get anything done during the day, because all he’s managed to do while I’ve been mowing is watch the baby…nothing else.  I say that’s my point exactly!!!)

Earlier that morning Micah mowed most of the front yard.  He made his father proud a couple months ago by deciding that he was big enough to do some mowing.  His assigned task is the front yard, not too big since our house happens to be the closest to the road on our street. When he was almost done (which was much longer than it should have been because he kept taking breaks because he was sweaty – umm that’s sort of unavoidable) the lawnmower starts making a horrible noise.  Brian, who can fix any computer, but isn’t too good with mechanical things, proclaims the mower is probably done for.  At least as far as our collective talents go.  He tinkers with it for a while and but doesn’t find a problem.  We all stop for breakfast, because we really had been TRYING to get our yard work done before noon.  Brian blesses our food and I add a blessing for the lawnmower.

Over breakfast we dream about a riding mower, which was not in our budget, ponder the quality of push mower we ought to get, and wonder if there might be a resale store for lawnmowers somewhere in Naples.  Brian goes back out to have one last look at the mower.  He’s back in shortly for a hammer (which doesn’t sound at all promising for the poor mower).  He thinks perhaps the blade is hitting on something.  And indeed that is the problem.  A few minutes and some well placed hits later, the lawnmower is up and running.

Hence the other reason I am mowing at noon, in July, in Florida.

Throughout our ponderings during breakfast, I had a feeling God would take care of our lawnmower problem.  And He did!  God even blesses lawn mowers.

Posted by: Shari Glass | July 18, 2010

Chicken Mummy Day 3

by Shari, July 18

So, we were not suppose to have to do anything with the chicken today.  We were SUPPOSE to be able to go 2 days now without changing her salts.  Such was not to be.  Wet chicken mummy salt = chicken mummy needs new salt.  So out she came, maybe looking a tad bit more wrinkly, and in went my last big box of salt.  Tomorrow I think I’ll head to Sam’s in hunt of a large amount of salt.

I’m awfully glad I didn’t take up mummification as my profession.  I’m beginning to have doubts as to whether or not we will be successful chicken mummiers.  But alas, only day 3 of 6 weeks…only time will tell.

Posted by: Shari Glass | July 18, 2010

Invisible to make God visible

by Shari

This was on the back of our church bulletin today.  I found it very profound.  An incredible snapshot of what church should be like.  And if we take the liberty to extend it a bit further…to what our own lives, everyday, should be like.  Me – invisible – making God visible.

Quote from a Maryland TV Newscast Recently on The Glory of the Liturgy of the Orthodox Church

“We could take a cue from Orthodoxy, whose priests stand with their backs to their congregation, leading a liturgy that is neither clever nor impassioned but simply beautiful, like stone smoothed by centuries of rhythmic tides.  It’s an austere ritual, in the sense of – there’s nothing new here; it’s sublime, in the sense of creating a clearer view into Heaven.  The priest can be any priest. Who he is, what he looks like, how he speaks, and what he thinks matter little.  He hasn’t written the service that he officiates.  It isn’t about him or his prowess. He’s an interchangeable functionary draped in brocaded robes, obscured by incense, and, as such, never points to himself, a flawed human, pointing ever and only to the Perfection of the Mysterious Divine.

That is the role of every priest or preacher – invisibility, while making God seen.”

Posted by: Shari Glass | July 17, 2010

Chicken Mummy – Day 2

Day 2 - cleaning off the mummy

by Shari, Saturday, July 17


Today the salt mixture around our mummy-to-be was definitely wet – especially at the bottom.  Next conundrum: How do you take a chicken-turn-mummy out of it’s wet (rock solid) salts and ziplock bags?  Very carefully!  I had visions of a leg or wing popping off as I was holding on to it through the plastic bag.  We had to chisel the salt mixture out of the middle of the bird.  But it was a successful operation and said mummy bird is now relaxing in it’s 2nd salt mixture.  (It didn’t look much different from yesterday, and thankfully, it didn’t smell either!)

Posted by: Shari Glass | July 17, 2010

Chicken Mummy – Day 1

by Shari, Friday, July 16

This chicken has no idea what's about to happen.

Today during our Egypt Day we began the lengthy process of mummifying a chicken.  The kind of chicken you by at the grocery store, already plucked, gutted, etc.  This one didn’t even have the little packet of innards that so often meet you when you prepare a whole chicken.  That was o.k. with me.  I wasn’t planning on doing the canopic jars anyway!  The entire process will take 6 weeks or so, and that’s all BEFORE we actually wrap the thing up.

We used the “recipe” from the Story of the World: Ancient Times activity book.   After thoroughly washing the bird, first with water and then with rubbing alcohol, we proceeded to stuff it with a mixture of Salt, baking soda, baking powder and a few herbs…today we used basil and rosemary.  After it was stuffed we covered it with the mixture (all in a ziplock bag).  Put it into a 2nd ziplock bag and there it sits, the beginning of the drying cycle.  We are suppose to change the salts tomorrow (day 2) and then progressively more days apart, whenever the salt appears wet.  After about 6 weeks we will stuff it with something – they suggest sawdust, material scraps, etc. and then wrap it.  I’ll be amazed if we make it the whole 6 weeks

The salting process begins.

without forgetting about the thing.  And if I’m really good I’ll update here each time we do something to it!

Day 1 - completed

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