Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Things I’ve Recently Learned

One of the things I love about homeschooling is how I learn little tidbits of information right along with my kids. I might’ve already been taught some of this stuff, but forgot it through the years. All I know is that the first three items on today’s list felt like all-new information when they came to me.

The other items were gleaned from research for writing projects, or simply learned from that great teacher we call “Life.”

1. Lightning replenishes nitrogen, and plays a big part in making the nitrogen usable for living creatures. Am I the only one who didn’t even know there was a nitrogen cycle? The kids and I just thought it was so cool that God had an amazing purpose for lightning ages before ol’ Ben Franklin used it to discover electricity.

2. Bushwackers were renegade southern soldiers in the Civil War; guerrillas or snipers, if you will. I always thought that word was used to describe natives who had to “whack” through underbrush to make paths through the jungle…or disgruntled liberals unhappy with our previous president. (Tee hee!)

3. The Hubble Space Telescope has sent back images of faint galaxies that are perhaps 12 billion light-years away. That is 12 billion times 6 trillion miles. I can’t even wrap my brain around that figure, or comprehend the vastness of outer space.

4. These noodles contain no calories and no net carbs. Interesting. Though a friend tells me the texture is quite reminiscent of eating worms. I didn’t ask how she knew what it was like, eating worms.

5. Pinatas once held a Christian meaning that I’d never heard until now. The traditional round pinata with seven cones represents the seven deadly sins. The goodies inside represent the treasures of heaven. The stick represents the virtue to overcome sin; the blindfold, faith, teaching that with virtue and faith one can overcome sin and obtain the treasures of heaven. I should probably apologize in advance to Eli, because I plan to make the pinata at this weekend’s birthday party a moment to teach these gems. But he knows his mother; I just can’t resist the opportunity to create a living history lesson!

6. A deadly Egyptian cobra escaped from the Bronx Zoo this week. GACK!!! The zoo officials are stating that it’s probably hiding inside the reptile house. Of course that’s what they would say, that he’s just peacefully, quietly hanging out in a dark corner somewhere inside the building, which thankfully, they closed. I’m just glad that New York is far, far away because you can never trust a snake.

7. Casey Abrams on American Idol, in addition to looking remarkably like Yukon Cornelius, suffers from ulcerative colitis and has had several blood transfusions since the show began. Poor guy! I really like him and am glad they saved him last week. Now if they could just send Stefano home…

8. Classic appendicitis symptoms might not mean appendicitis at all — or anything, for that matter, as proven by my 9-year-old at the ER last week.

9. Even if it’s your third child, and you’ve done it twice before, letting a toddler cry-it-out at bedtime is one of the most gut-wrenching things you’ll ever do and should not be attempted without a shot of scotch or a dose of Xanax ahead of time. (Or if you’re not into chemical help, non-stop prayer. Which doesn’t hurt, regardless.)

10. Mustering the resolve to keep your mostly-sweet teenager grounded for a week is almost as difficult as sitting through crying-it-out with a toddler. I just keep reminding myself that these years of simultaneously parenting a teen, a tween and a toddler are guaranteed to provide me with writing material for the rest of my life.

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