Wednesday, July 27, 2011

how many stomachs does a donkey have?

A while ago over dinner, I pointed out to DS1 the importance of chewing and swallowing, since he only has one stomach.  This led to a discussion of cows and the question of “how many stomachs does a donkey have?”

As a homeschooling mom, I’m keen to encourage my children in topics that interest them. As an aspiring librarian, however, I was stumped! Unable to find anything in the catalogue that would appear to provide more information about which animals ruminate, I resorted to a web search on 

Of the results presented to me, I chose the “Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations” website where I learned:
The stomach of a ruminant has four chambers. The first chamber is very large and is called the rumen. The second chamber is the reticulum (honeycomb). The third is the omasum (book) and the fourth is the  abomasum (the true stomach). The ruminant chews grass and swallows and it goes into the rumen.  Cattle, goats, sheep and buffalo chew the cud; they are ruminants. Horses, donkeys and mules are herbivores but do not chew the cud. They are nonruminants. 

So, how many stomachs does a donkey have? Well, one, just like everyone else. But, unlike the cow which has four chambers to help it digest, donkeys (and humans) only have one; make sure to chew your food… preferably with your mouth closed!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The secret to happier parenting?

So my mom sent an article to my sister, sister-in-law, and I with this as a the subject: "Just an interesting article -- nothing personal directed at anyone!"

After reading it I did a quick search for more information about the author.  I think knowing a bit more about the author provides some context for where they're coming from and what sort of credibility they may have.

The author, 40 year old Bryan Caplan, describes himself as  "An openly nerdy man who loves role-playing games and graphic novels, I live in Oakton, Virginia, with my wife and three sons."  His children are eight-year-old identical twins and a baby. 

The article makes a good point about not trying to overachieve in a sense or do too much with one's children.  I suspect however that Bryan's experience, world views, and goals for his children and family may be different from mine - which is why to him it's no big deal to have his kids watching TV and left with a babysitter.  For my family, we feel that leaving children to watch TV shows which don't reflect our Christian values is not appropriate.  We are also extremely careful about the people we leave our kids with, as we believe protecting them spiritually is just as important as protecting them physically.

So... that's me, making a mountain out of a molehill... now you know why my mom would put that disclaimer in her subject line!

What about you - what do you think about Bryan's article?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Shoe storage for six

We live in a 12 foot home... Most of those pairs of feet owns a pair of flip flops/sandals (sometimes both), a pair of slippers, two pairs of running shoes, a pair of Sunday dress shoes, and a pair of winter boots.  Some also own work boots or rubber boots.  That's a lot of shoes!  Want to know how we store them?

In our family of 6 I have a "boot tray" by the back door that the 3 kids' (not for baby yet) keep a pair of running shoes and a pair of flip flops in summer or boots in winter on.  I also have a pair of my own flip flops and slip on shoes there.  Since the kids are all pretty small it works ok, with some shoes stacked on top of each other.


In the front closet I have a hanging thing from Ikea that I keep the kids' Sunday shoes and better pair of running shoes in (so that when they're going to AWANA for example their shoes aren't the muddy ones from the back yard).  There's another boot tray on the floor of the closet and that's where running shoes, flip flops, Sunday shoes, dh's work boots go.  It usually requires shoes to be stacked on top of each other.

DD1's shoes extra shoes are stored on a little shelf in her room.  DS3's shoes are stored on a shelf in his cupboard too since they're so small.

I keep the off season shoes in a storage area in the basement, so that's where the boots are now.  I have 3 dressers in the basement and I store the kids' too big/small shoes there.  I made myself a list of which shoes are in which dresser so I can see at a glance what size, gender and style I have.


This works well for smaller feet but I have larger shoes in shoe boxes under beds for when we get to those sizes.  I don't have an ideal storage system for the winter boots as I find they take up more space so I'd prefer to keep them out of the dresser drawers.  I should also mention that the shoes have been washed before going in to the drawers.

What about you?  How do you store your family's shoes?