Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Music Box


Grace is practicing her monster-fighting writing. 😀  We hope you enjoy this little tale of twisty-time and vampire slaying…among other things…

The song was still playing in the back my of my head. The music box had looked so innocent. How was I supposed to know it was a prison that held some of the most terrifying demons in all of creation?


I held tight to my scythe, ready to pounce on anything that moved. My best friends, Eli and Jaxon, followed at my heels. Jaxon held a pointed staff, one notch carved for nearly every day in the prison. His neon green hair shone in the pale light of my watch. Eli appeared to have no weapon, but secretly kept a stake up his sleeve. His crooked glasses were missing a lens.


We had been stuck here for at least three months, maybe more. Jaxon lost count at 82 days. We had climbed at least 99 flights of stairs, and we had heard from a starving vamp that there were only 100. Our only hope was that we would be released on the last level.


Eli put a hand on my shoulder. “Alice, maybe you should rest.” I looked down at my leg. It had been bitten by an Archion, a flesh-eating demon. I had managed to pull it off before it could inject any poison, but it took a great chunk of leg with it. I nodded.


This place looked like a huge Victorian mansion, so finding a place to crash wasn’t hard. We set up camp in a music room, nestled behind a row of guitars. Eli plopped down beside me. He studied my face, taking in every detail. I self-consciously raised my hand to my cheek. I knew I hadn’t brushed my hair in a while, but I wasn’t that hideous.


What?” I asked, blushing. “do I have an eye booger or something?” Eli laughed. I blushed harder.


No, but I think you broke your face,” he joked.


How did I do that?”


You smiled.” I looked down. Eli cleared his throat.


Alice, what if there is no way out? I mean, why would there be?” he whispered, picking at a scab. I sighed.


If this is a prison, than there must be police. They need some way out, and we’re going to find it,” I said, trying to make him feel better.


I should probably keep watch,” Eli said, pushing his glasses up his nose. I smiled.


As he walked away, I thought about our life before the prison. We would go to Bert’s Ice Cream and sit on the roof. Eli would tell me to get my nose out of a book and live a little. Jaxon would pretend to push him off. I sighed. Even if we got out of here, we could never go back to that. We’d seen too much. I rested my head against a drum. We had to get out of here.




One flight later, we were on the last level. It looked like a long hallway, with only one door all the way on the other end. Jaxon ran ahead. Eli soon followed, but I kept my steady pace. When I got there, I put my hand on the door handle, but a sharp sting shot through my arm. I jerked my hand away. Eli frowned.


That’s not good,” he mumbled. “This must be the last test. We have to find a way to open it.” We thought about that.


What about Galdren blood, it’ll burn a hole through the door,” Jaxon said. I shook my head.


I have a feeling we need to open the door, not burn through it.”


If we coated the handle with a vampire dust, we might be able to hold it just long enough to open it,” Jaxon suggested. I frowned.


Where are we going to get vampire dust?” I asked.


Eli shrugged. “I guess we go looking.” We turned away from the door and started walking, kicking open doors in our wake. After about 10 minutes, I heard a snarl. We turned, and three vamps jumped us. Jaxon, Eli and I sprang into action. A vamp swung at me, and I ducked right on time. I hurled my scythe at his head, but he kicked it out of the way, pushing me backward. I kicked him in the face, and he stumbled. I swung my scythe again, chopping off his head. The body turned to dust before it could hit the floor. I looked over to my friends. Eli had already staked his vamp, and Jaxon was kicking his vampire’s butt. He kicked him in the face and did a flip over the vamp’s weak attempt to bite him. When he was still trying figure out where Jaxon was, Eli staked the vamp, instantly turning him to dust.


Jaxon ducked down and grabbed a handful of dust, dumping it on the handle. He looked over to me, and for the first time, fear filled his eyes. I nodded. He turned back to the door. Taking a deep breath, he yanked it open. A bright light filled the room, temporarily blinding us. As soon as we could see again, we ran for door. A loud bang filled our ears, and we were blinded again. Only this time, when we opened our eyes, we were standing in an alley.


I looked around, shielding my eyes from the harsh glare of the sun. I knew this street. This was the same place we were when we disappeared. I glanced down at my watch. 7:02, 3/25/2013. Not a single day had passed. I heard Jaxon’s staff hit the ground.


Where are we?” asked Eli. I smiled. Really smiled.





The Week in Pictures


And a fabulous week was had by all! 🙂

What We’ll Be Up To


Last week was full of so much awesome stuff!  Not necessarily the stuff we planned, but awesome stuff nonetheless. 🙂  Because of that, we didn’t exactly get everything on the agenda for last week accomplished, so you may notice some repeat information here. 😉

Language Arts:  Grace is still reading The Book Thief.  (She doesn’t seem particularly impressed at this point, but she’s only about halfway finished.)  She also has some descriptive writing to work on and the ever-present grammar.

Math:  Grace is working on graphing equations.  She’s doing a great job with it, and I predict she’ll finish with the topics this week.  She may be moving on to all sorts of charts-and-graphs-y fun.  Math Doesn’t Suck and XtraMath are also in the plans for the week.

Social Studies:  If all goes according to plan (hahahahaha!), we’ll finish our History Pockets for ancient Greece this week.

Science:  We never quite got to Middle School Chemistry last week, so we’ll be working on that this week.  We’ll also finish up the Spectrum Science that we didn’t quite finish last week. 😉

Grace’s Choice:  Who knows what she’ll choose?  Last week she did a lot of painting (birdhouses and pictures).

Field Trips:  We don’t have anything specific planned, but we do know we’ll be working on our decomposing-cardboard garden…that took us to lots of new places where we learned tons of new things last week, so who knows where we’ll end up??? 😀

Last Week in Pictures


We had a fantastic week last week!  Here’s the evidence:

What We’re Up To…


Here’s what we’re going to be up to this week…tons of fun stuff ahead!

Language Arts:  Grace has started reading The Book Thief…I’m thinking that one will take us through the end of the week.  She’s also working on a new writing unit about descriptive writing (one of her favorites).  Always, always, always with the grammar, too. 🙂

Math:  We have finally worked our way through our algebra topics, so we’re moving on to a review of coordinate graphing and graphs of functions.  Grace has also started reading Math Doesn’t Suck.  So far, she’s enjoying it, and it seems to be a nice little review of some basic concepts.

Social Studies:  We still have quite a few activities with our History Pockets for Ancient Greece, so we’ll be working with those all week.

Science:  We’ll be starting with chapter 4 of Middle School Chemistry…all about atoms and bonding.  Grace will also be tackling the last chapter in Spectrum Science (History and Nature of Science).

Field Trips:  We don’t have any official field trips planned, but we do have some actual work in a field we’re planning.  Grace and I have started a little garden with some unusual methods.  We’ve got some of our seeds started, and, today, we laid out the first layer of our “soil”…which is actually cardboard.  This could be a pretty interesting project. 😀

Grace’s Choice:  Who can say what she’ll choose?  Last week she planted seeds, watched a documentary, a Pi Day celebration, and playing Silly Sentences.

Tear Away the Sky


We’re currently studying ancient Greece, and one of Grace’s recent assignments was to write a “mixed up” myth.  She randomly picked two Greek gods, a setting, and a problem…then she was off into myth writing.  I think she’s done a splendid job with it. 🙂  Enjoy!

Tear Away the Sky

One day, the great god Apollo sat atop Acropolis staring into the blank night. He had finished his flight across the sky, and the Earth was shrouded in darkness. He sighed, wishing for some form of light that would allow him to gaze upon the lush fields and smooth lakes. He knew that Mother Earth, or Gaea, had sewn the night sky to protect her people from being burned by the blinding light of the heavens, but Apollo didn’t care. He wanted to see. Suddenly, an idea appeared in his head. He called for his sister, Artemis. A single deer trotted to him. Her fur was a shimmering gold, and a thin silver band was snugly fitted to her head. Apollo smiled.


Sister, you do not need to wear such costumes. No human dwells here.” The deer glowed a blinding silver, and the Goddess of the Hunt took its place, the silver band still on her head. Artemis frowned.

Why have you called me here?” she asked. Apollo pointed at the sky.

I need you to tear the night from the sky; it makes my only free time dark and dreary.”

Artemis tensed. “ I cannot help you; even my arrows cannot pull the blanket away.” Apollo stood.

Maybe one of your immortal maidens can. They have immense power,” Apollo suggested. Artemis sighed.

If you wish”She called out to her huntresses, and a huge group of girls ran to their goddess’s aid.

What do you need?” the maidens asked, and Artemis pointed to the sky.

Whoever can pull away the night will be crowned Leader of the Hunt!” the goddess shouted. The maidens gasped. A tall girl with spiky hair shoved her way forward. She pointed her bow at the sky, pulling her fingers to her temple. Her arrow shot upward, ripping a small hole in the night. A thin stream of light burst from the heavens, but the blanket still hovered. Several other girls tried, but only few even reached the sky. Apollo stepped forward.

Sister, get all of your huntresses to shoot at once. Maybe then the blanket will fall.” Artemis smiled. She gathered her bow and pointed it at the sky. The huntresses did the same. She released, and 1,000 arrows shot forward, each piercing the sky. Tiny lights littered the night, with a gaping hole where the goddess’s arrow had gone. The land was filled with light. Ever since then, Apollo would sit on Acropolis and gaze at the fields with the newly formed stars lighting the land.


How To…Write a Goal


Grace has finished up her writing unit on how-to writing.  For her final paper, she chose to write about creating goals (another skill we’ve been working on).  Here’s what she had to say:

Setting a Goal

The first step in setting a goal is gathering your supplies. You will need paper and a pencil. Then, think of something you want to accomplish, like writing a short story. After you have the idea of what you are going to do, write down how long it will take you to accomplish. For writing a short story, you might want to stick to three weeks.

After that, write the first thing you need to do to complete your goal. After writing the first step of your goal, write (on the same line) how long that step will take. You might think that creating the main plot for your story will take two days, so you would write that down. After that, write down the date you would finish that step. This is so you know when you complete each step. Use this method to write down all steps.

After you have finished writing your steps, calculate when you will finish completely. If you didn’t give yourself enough time to finish, you might want to rethink your time limit. If you finish early, then you have plenty of wiggle room, or time to make mistakes. If you start your goal on April 1st, your paper should look like this:

Writing a Short Story

(three weeks)

1. Create main plot (two days) 4/2/13

2. Create characters (three days) 4/5/13

3. Write chapter 1 (three days) 4/8/13

4. Write chapter 2 (three days) 4/11/13

5. Write chapters 3 (three days) 4/13/13

6. Proofread (1 day) 4/14/13

Wiggle Room: 1 week

Check up on your goal every time you finish a step to make sure your timing is correct. If not, think about what you are doing that is causing you to take longer than you had planned. Are you slacking off? Did you not give yourself enough time? If you are early, you know you gave yourself plenty of time and can use that information for future goals.

Have fun!


Last Week in Pictures


We had a fantastic week last week even if we did have some random oddities.   This week looks pretty darn promising, too. 😀  I hope everyone’s having as much fun as we are!

What We’ll Be Up To Next Week


Well, we wouldn’t be us if we didn’t goof up our plans for the week last week…add a full week, a sick teacher, and a sudden inspiration for a card game and you get some strangeness in the schedule. 🙂  And we wouldn’t be us if we didn’t have a ton planned for next week.  Here’s what we’ll be up to:

Language Arts:  Grace has started reading The Alchemyst.  She’s enjoying it quite a bit, and I suspect she’ll finish it early in the week.  If so, we’ll be moving on to The Book Thief.  Grace will finish up her how-to writing unit and begin a new unit on descriptive writing.  As usual, grammar, grammar, grammar.

Math:  We’ve (finally) finished reading I Wish I Knew That Math, so we’ll be trying out Math Doesn’t Suck.  Of course, that’s in addition to our regularly scheduled algebra.  It’s IXL and XtraMath all the way for us.

Science:  It looks like we’ll be wrapping up chapters in two different science resources this week: Middle School Chemistry (density) and Spectrum Science (science in society).

Social Studies:  We have tons of fun History Pockets for ancient Greece to do, so we’ll be on that for a while longer. 🙂

Field Trips:  Grace has a science class at the Science Center this week.  Other than that, our travel plans look pretty quiet.

Grace’s Choice:  Who knows what Grace will pick?  Last week she worked on creating her new game, puzzles, and reading.

Have a fantastic week!

Crazy Colors – Grace’s New Game


Grace has been hard at work creating a new game!  She spent a lot of time designing cards, writing out rules, test-playing, and revising…and we have a final product: Crazy Colors!  It’s a fun and simple game of luck, logic, and strategy.  Not that I’m biased or anything, but I think she’s done a fantastic job with her first game. 😀  So awesome that we’ve decided to add it to the Nerd in the Brain store.  We’re starting with an introductory price of $1.00, but after a week the price will go up to $2.00, so snag your copy now if you’re so inclined.  (Yep, any money made on the game will go to Grace…and Grace’s college fund.)  The game is a downloadable printable.  Translation: some assembly required. 😉

The stack of cards after a winning move. :)

The stack of cards after a winning move. 🙂

Playing a round of Crazy Colors with Daddy (and Frank). :D

Playing a round of Crazy Colors with Daddy (and Frank). 😀