Friday, December 30, 2011

Homeschool Mothers Journal - Oh Rats!

In my Life this week...
According to a news paper article I recently read states that because of all the construction on the sewers and interstate near my house many hundreds of thousands of rats are running loose through my area of the city and are seeking shelters near or in homes. ( like ours). You can see them running around at night in back yards where children play. Our city is not doing much about it either. They have put hundreds of lbs of rat poison in the sewers but the rats are not found there they are in neighborhoods like mine.

A rat has now chewed a hole under my back door into the dining room crawl space. We STILL have rat problem!! My husband thought that all the Decon he put out killed them but he was WAY wrong. We now have hired an exterminator who set up 4 bait stations in our backyard for the rats to feed on, he will switch to a different poison each week for 4 weeks. We also have snap traps in our garage as well. The exterminator came out today to show me how to get my dead rats out and reset them.

One of the big problem we have in our yard is a HUGE oak tree, he said they attract rats because they love the acorns. He also mentioned that they love to eat dog poop. Yum! I am religious about cleaning up ours everyday but my neighbors do not clean their poop up, EVER and they have 3 dogs! You can see all the rats digging tunnels under our fence to feed over there.

Would it be un ethical to place some dead rats in their driveway so they can SEE there is a problem, maybe then they would start cleaning up poop!

In our homeschool week..
Well we are on vacation this week so I have been busy planning next months lessons. We are going to be studying Asia.

A quote to share...
We were just heading outside to play and Duck says to me "its freezing outside it's 30:10, and that's a lot of money!" lol I think we need to work on time, measurement, and money a bit more, he seems confused!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

5 Simple Goals for 2012

Another year has come and gone it was a year full of many memories and mistakes made.

Here is a list of my goals for next year, I set them a bit smaller than I would have liked. I am an over achiever by heart, but I wanted to make sure my goals were attainable so I would have no problem hitting them, and hopefully surpassing each one. I plan to re post my goals the first week of each month so I can stay on track all year. (I would hate to compose a post about how I was unable to achieve any or all goals that month)

1. Write at least 1000 words a week for my novel in hopes of completing it by August 2012.

2. Make a kids created monthly scrapbook. I had a scrap book bought for me 5 years or so ago and I still have not done anything with it. Every year I say I am going to have the kids each pick their favorite pictures of that month and do a page but, I never do. This year I am going to make it a school art project for the kids. They can either draw pictures save school stuff print pictures anything they want. This will be done the first school day of every month for the previous month so the first project will be done on Wednesday February 3.

3.Do yoga at least 2 nights a week. Before my last 3 children were born I did yoga daily and loved the stress release it gave me. I have let my yoga practice slip through the years. My plan is to set up my yoga space before the kids are in bed so as soon as they are in bed I will be ready to go.

4.Jog outside, kids free! I plan to get a neighborhood sitter to watch my kids for an hour once a week to have a stress free jogging experience.

5. A year long study of 12 famous artists. Each month we will focus on one 1 artist and create an art project replica of a famous painting.
A few that I have selected already are:

Vincent Van Gogh
Marry Casset
Claude Oscar Monet
Joan Miro
Leanardo Da Vinci

I am hoping to fill in the rest as we go selecting artists that we read about through our other studies.

So that's it, just 5 simple easily obtained goals to promote a stress reducing, fitness enhanced, and creativity inspired year!

What are your goals? I would love to hear them!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Spider Feeding, Brass Quintet, and Santa in Space

In my life this week…
I forced my lovely husband to help wrap gifts this year (he has NEVER helped in the last 13 years.) He finds an empty box (It's a gluten free bread box) and puts Falcons gift inside then slaps a label on it without wrapping it. I say to him,"what are you doing are you going to wrap that?" He replies "it is wrapped. Can you see what is inside it?" I say "NO!" He replies okay then it's wrapped, isn't the whole point of wrapping a gift just to cover it up so you do not see what is inside? You can't see what is inside, so its wrapped!"

He is putting it under the tree from Santa, falcon knows there is no Santa so my dear husband did it as a joke so Falcon thinks he got a box of Gluten free bread mix for Christmas! It is a bit funny!

This is what will be sitting under the tree with Falcons name on it from Santa!

In our homeschool this week…
Slow going but we are working on our S. Korean war project, Cats, Winter Solstice, Germs, and a few other things.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Robin and I went to see "How the Alien Stole Christmas" at out local planetarium. They just had a huge remodel with a brand new SciDome XD 3-dimensional computerized space simulator. It was AMAZING. Last month Falcon and I saw "A Journey Into a Black Hole", it was just as cool.

The movie was cute, the Alien took Santa to all the planets in the Solar system, then talked about the climate and why the Aliens who live there that need a Santa too! In the end Santa creates a special Santa suited for each planet's environment to deliver presents to all the alien children in the solar system.

It was a great addition to our Astronomy unit with a little bit of Christmas fun mixed in!

We also went to the zoo to sketch more animals today we sketched the Goldren Orb Weaver Spider then watched as the zoo keepers hand fed this big spiders eewwww!

We also saw the Symphany's Brass Quintet play at the library.

Owl working on a coloring page of a trumpet while listening to the music. Children were encouraged to get up and dance and really FEEL the music. This was a nice tie in to last weeks Book Lentil.

Questions/thoughts I have…
Does your Librarian know you by name? How many books do you have checked out at a time? We usually have around 80 at any given time. I love books and we have an awesome library that we use quite often instead of buying expensive texts. Anyone else a library fanatic?

I’m cooking…
Cookies, Mini cheesecakes, Lemon and white chocolate chex mix and my famous butter and white wine turkey with all the fix in's!

A photo to share..

Robin. Duck, and Owl having a blast playing in the empty baby pool in 30 degree weather! So Funny!

Bear Hibernation -creative playtime

Today we read and talked all about the Winter Solstice and read:

WE sang a Rhyme sung to the tune of Farmer in the Dell

Its time to hibernate, It time to hibernate
When its cold and wintery,its time to hibernate

A door mouse curls up tight
A door mouse curls up tight
When its cold and wintery, its time to hibernate
Its time to hibernate, It time to hibernate
When its cold and wintery, its time to hibernate

Bears go sleep in thier caves
Bears go sleep in thier caves
When its cold and wintery, its time to hibernate
Its time to hibernate, It time to hibernate
When its cold and wintery, its time to hibernate

A groundhog goes in its den
A groundhog goes in its den
When its cold and wintery, its time to hibernate
Its time to hibernate, It time to hibernate
When its cold and wintery, its time to hibernate

Some frogs sleep in the mud
Some frogs sleep in the mud
When its cold and wintery, its time to hibernate
Its time to hibernate, It time to hibernate
When its cold and wintery, its time to hibernate

We found a nice cave (box) for our bear Otis, then added items for his wintertime cave. We added silk flowers, twigs, playfood that would be naturally found in nature (except for a felt peanut butter sandwhich Robin insisted on adding because the bear found it out side where a little girl must have dropped it.) We gave Otis a big hug then sealed up the box. Our bear will stay there until Springtime (I am sure my kids will insist on peeking at him from time to time)

loaded up cave!

Decorating the Cave (box) we wrote things on it like Do not Disturb! Shhhh! Beware of sleeping bear!

I found this toy to today while Duck was shopping for a gift for Owl.

Kido A to Z Magnatab

It has little magnets that fit into the little bubbles to push down with your fingers tracing them or use back of pen, then use the magnet side of the pen to pop the little balls back up. An ingenous way to teach letter. Duck bought the number one for Owl hoping to recieve the others from Grandma for Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Kanani- American girl of the year party

Our American girl club thought it would be fun to have a party for December's meeting before we start our next historical Character (Josephina) in January.

Each girl brought a Hawaiian type food item and or a swap. Here are some of the goodies we received.

1. A lei
2. Bookmark
3. Seashell
4. Bath salts
5. Hawaii worksheets, stickers and coloring pages
6. A bracelet with the girls Hawaiian name
7. Flip flops
8. Edible black lava salt

The girls made tissue paper hair clip flowers (in dolls hair in the picture)and
grass skirts made from a paper bag.

Food that were brought and shared were a Hawaiian sweet bread, pineapple upside down cake, sparkling juice punch, and coconut pudding. They were all so tasty and gluten free.

Games we played were:
American girl bingo I found print ables from this site
We will be using these at future meetings as well.

Relay races while running with a pineapple between your knees.

Coconut bowling.

All the girls lined up their dolls and took turns shouting off which doll they would try to hit then tried to roll the coconut to her. They had a blast playing this.

My battery died on my camera so I was unable to get pictures except for the one coconut bowling shot.

FIAR Lentil - When stories come alive

In the story Lentil by Robert McCloskey a character tastes a lemon and they talk about lips being puckered from the taste. So of course we cut up a lemon. Not one of my children's lips puckered they ate them all up begging for more,my kids love sour stuff. Even Owl loved them and asked for more. Strangely though for lunch we had some Texas grapefruit and Falcon says to me "I don't like Grapefruit its to sour" Um okay you just ate a lemon that's a lot more sour than a grapefruit!
We studied our sense of taste and drew a tongue and labeled them.

Owl is gluing foods he likes the taste of on a big red tongue.

Falcon finishing up his tongue.

The song from the story Lentil

WE had a lot of fun finding the beat to this song and marching through the house with our instruments pretending to be our own marching band.Of course this was Owl, Duck and Robin's favorite. This song prompted us to cook Chicken and dumplings.

Falcon and Robin thought this was a fun marching band video to watch.

I love how you really FEEL the music when a marching band plays it. I don't know if it is because so many people are doing it in unison or if it is the loud distinct beat, but I just love hearing marching bands especially in person. We spent quite awhile listening to different marching bands on you tube.

Looking at a bridge built near us that was meant to remember a local World War II veteran and recipient of the Medal of Honor. Its a cool bridge the LED lights down the center light up at night and change colors.

After reading the story Robin really wanted to meet a real solider so after some thought I remembered an Army recruiting station near by, so I packed up all 4 kids and off we went.

Listening to Sargent Bliss tell us about the Army.

Robin browsing pamphlets while we waited for Sargent Bliss to get off the phone.

There were lots of inspirational posters down the halls I really liked what this one said.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Homeschool mothers journal - Space the Final Frontier

In my life this week…
My roof is fixed, AGAIN! Our brand new roof is no longer leaking. The failure to seal around our cast iron smoke stack is now fixed, yay! Home Depot sent an inspector out to document the damage and submit a claim.The inspector feels that Home Depot will be replacing our kitchen Ceiling, flooring, entire West wall in the kitchen and the kitchen cupboards. Hopefully it will all go through. Fingers crossed.

In our homeschool this week…
I started an astronomy unit with Robin today. She was super excited to help me put up the vinyl stickers I bought over the summer when the Boarders bookstore in our town was going out of business

We decorated them going down the stairs into the playroom.

We started our Study with the first planet, Mercury. Robin and I printed an astronaut and glued it to black card stock so we can move it to each planet we visit. Falcon who has been working on Astronomy for a few weeks now will need to add some facts about each planet on index cards.

My favorite thing this week was…
We spent Monday morning listening to Christmas music and making ornaments, my favorites were the walnut babies. Owl, my little silent observer did so well at this he just sat right down grabbed what we had on the table and made ornaments all by himself. He did so good stringing beads on the pipe cleaners and he was awesome at gluing sequins on the stars. I was so proud of him.

Things I’m working on…
Writing a novel. I have toyed with this idea for over 13 years and have lots of the writing already done I just need to piece it all together and write much more.

I’m cooking…
Boston cream Pie to go with our studies on Massachusetts this week.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Laundromat Fun unit and Field trip.

A awhile back I came across an idea in a pre-school copy of Mailbox (which I love)Magazine. The story suggested was

I also requested
Curious George at the laundromat
(I love Curious George)

There were several activities and worksheets to go with them, but I forgot those. I knew this looked fun so I requested this book from the library and it sat on my shelf for 14 weeks (I kept renewing it) until this week when I had hit my renew max so I pulled out some boxes I was saving for this and other up coming projects and made a Laundromat!

Complete with a Gumball machine (on the table) and books to read while waiting for laundry to finish up (notice my selection of books)

Action shots, they were eager to start right away even Falcon thought this was fun! They had a lot of fun washing, drying and sorting the dress up clothes. I watched from the other side of the room while I folded real laundry that just came out of our dryer.

I was planning on covering the fronts of the boxes with paper and drawing dials and such on them, but I new my kids would be hard on the boxes and I didn't want to waste my time. After about 20 minutes of play they discovered they could get in the washers and dryers and play in them. After day 1 the boxes were in bad shape but they are having fun and loving the imaginative play even if it is not laundry related. Play is learning no matter how you spin it!

Later that week we headed to the Laundromat for a field trip. I needed to wash a down comforter from my Dad's house so we took it to the Laundromat to get a really good wash in one of the large super washers.

We had the place basically to ourselves so I gave the kids rides around in the laundry carts and played hide and go seek.
Watching our blanket getting super sudsey in the super washer! (say that 10 times without messing up, I dare you).

Of course they loved the arcade games.

Duck and Owl thought it was loads of fun to open all the dryer doors then shut them over and over.

As we piled into the car after spending over an hour there, I asked the kids if they would like to do this every week and they replied "Yes it is sooooooo fun at the Laundromat" I do know that this would not be the response I would get if we really did have to go to the Laundromat every week. So for now I am extremely thankful for our home washer and dryer.

Clothsline we made in the kitchen to hang up washcloths for extra laundry fun.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gift Quality Sun Catchers

These are so easy and pretty all you need is:
Sturdy Frame (I used 5x7) 4x6's would work well too but larger frames may not fit well in some windows.
Flat glass beads
Tacky glue
Hot glue
Spray paint (optional)

1.We used old oak frames that I spray painted black (you could leave it plain or paint any color you want) I chose black to go with our living room decor.

2. When your frames are dry, hot glue the glass to the inside of the frame.

3. When the hot glue has been set you can put the back of the frame on. This will not be staying on for the final product but it is there for extra support while gluing in beads.

4. Now you will glue (using tacky glue) flat glass beads on the glass or any other semi transparent items that would look pretty with sun shining through.

I only let my children use blue, white and clear beads with 1 signature color to for each child.

My favorite placement

I wish the sun had been shining today to really capture the beauty of these sun catchers but I love them so much and cannot wait to make more.

I must give some credit to Family Fun magazine on this one. Years ago they had project like this but wanted you to drill holes at the top of the frames and hang them on the wall. We made these over a year ago and they have sat on my dresser ever since. I was cleaning today and thinking of throwing them away because I was never going to get around to drill holes in them to hang. As I walked to the garbage I was hit with the great idea of placing them on window sills as sun catchers. I LOVE THEM! I like this idea much better than the first one. These would make great inexpensive gifts especially if you checked out your local Goodwill or thrift store for the frames. I cannot wait to make some more in bright fun colors.

I would love to see your sun catchers if you make these please post a link to them in my comments. Happy Crafting.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Homeschool Mothers Journal- Fevers are your Friend!

In my life this week…
A much calmer week now that that Thanksgiving is over. We got hit with another BAD rainstorm and we realized that the new roof that was just put on a month ago and already repaired once is STILL leaking and we had water running down our walls from the attic to the basement. I spent many hours on the phone trying to get this fixed.

In our homeschool this week…
I realized Falcon is having some serious issues with multiple choice tests. Either he is just rushing and not taking the time or his dyslexia might be playing a part in this. He failed many multiple choice tests. When I gave him tests that he needs to write the entire answer out for and not choose he gets is right 90% of the time.Not sure if I should foucus on teaching him to take multiple choice tests or just move on they are such a big part of schooling even in college. I am bad a those tests too I would take an essay any day over a multiple choice test.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
We enjoyed ourselves at the Zoo sketching animals on a beautiful sunny 30 degree day.

My favorite thing this week was…
Seeing the Chinese Alligator lunge at the glass and try to attack us multiple times as we walked up to the exhibit. That was super fun usually the gators are just sitting in the water doing nothing.

Things I’m working on…
Our Elf on a Shelf arrived and the kids wanted to know if our Elf had any friends and what their names are. We found out that she has many friends but 2 best friends Icicle from Siberia and Candycane from the Cayman Islands. We are hoping to find out more about what the familes are like they are staying with and do some studies on those countries. :)Falcon will be working
on a project tied into this for his creative writing.

I’m reading…

I read this many years ago in college for and Anthropology of Medicine course. Lets just say that class has changed my life and the way I look at sickness. Every time my children get sick I need to repeat in my head "fevers are your friend leave them be" Mainstream society makes you think that if you get a fever you need to lower it because it is a BAD thing. They are so WRONG think about why you get a fever. You are usually infected with some sort or virus or bacteria. This is your bodies defense mechanism to turn up the heat and kill off that bacteria. When you take a fever reducing drug you are making your body work harder. Your symptoms may lessen and you may feel better but if you look inside your body that's a whole different story. The bacteria it multiplying super fast and causing your body to work ever harder to build up its white blood cell army to fight the damage you have done So why would you make yourself sicker? Well doctors tell you it's the right thing to do. The problem is most doctors have no idea how to cure patients anymore all they know how to do is give drugs to cover symptoms. Ever been to the doctor? How many drug reps were in the caiting room? Very sad. Quote from the book "using drugs to suppress fever may sometimes make people sicker or even kill them"
This entire book is highly educational and is always on my dresser to read. I find myself pulling it out and reading it every time my children get a fever. Like last night when Duck and Owl had 104 temps. This morning they are feeling a bit better and are down to 100-101. I feel better knowing that I am letting their bodies do what it was made to do.

I’m cooking…
A Paleo type fudge that I am still tweaking.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Zoo Sketching and Lady Bug Learning.

After circle time was over I decided to bust out a new game that I found at Toys R Us

Flip over three cards to create a new challenge. Can you crab walk to the bedroom with the fish under your chin? Can you dance around a chair with the fish between your knees? There are hundreds of hilarious possibilities, and every game is belly-laughing fun. We had a blast doing these activities together it was a great fun way to get kids moving, laughing and working on memorization.

The last Challenge Robin did said to Tip toe to a book with the fish inside your clothes. Robin then brought me the book...

Great! I thought to myself we need to work on time anyway so we read the book together and got our our foam clock to change the times along with the book.

After the story we cut out a leaf and used clovers as aphids (what was on hand)
and rolled our dice to do some adding and subtracting work while pretending to be ladybugs eating the aphids!

What fun! I love when spontaneous ideas make learning so fun. This is why I have such a hard time sticking with a set curriculum. I love when life just creates learning.

Drawing is something my kids all struggle with and get discouraged easily. Today we finished up our school work early so we headed to the zoo on a beautifully sunny 30 degree day to sketch some zoo animals. The Wolves were just laying around up by the glass posing for us. The Tiger was pacing back and forth roaring right up by the front of the exhibit. We had the zoo totally to ourselves it was so nice to let my littles ones run and not worry about them getting lost in a crowd.

Falcon drew the 2 at the top Robin drew the one on the bottom. We added these to our zoo sketch book folders.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Elf on a Shelf ideas week 1

Our elf arrived on Thanksgiving right before dinner. During dinner we discussed names and all 4 kids finally agreed on Peppermint our female Elf on a shelf.

Day 1 after her first day here she returned from the north pole and held a tea party on the kitchen counter spilling all sorts of tea bags on the while she sipped tea with a few of her Christmas friends.

Day 2 We found Peppermint riding on a red and black toilet paper tube airplanes we made a few months ago above the dining room table.

Day 3 Peppermint was watching Christmas movies on the chair and brought us a new movie from Santa. Monster House. Robin was mad that Santa brought her a movie that scary. Duck and falcon enjoyed it though.

Day 4 We found our lovely elf doing a Christmas themed picture search puzzle on the table. she wrote a little note that said to do well at school today because Santa was watching.

Day 5 Before Robin went to bed she asked peppermint if there was a snow storm at the north pole. When she came back she left us a note that said, yes there was a big snow storm, so I made dome snowflakes for you I hope I do not get stuck. After searching high and low we found peppermint stuck yo the wall while hanging up snowflakes she made for us.

Day 6 she was hiding in the kitchen in a holiday decoration.

Day 7 She came back from the North Pole answering the question "how many friends do you have?" With an answer of I have many friends but 2 best friends Icicle and Candycane. We are hoping she will soon answer the question about where her other elf friends are in the world and what their families are like. Check next weeks blog post too see. Peppermint was hanging out in Robin's room last night dressed up in a Barbie dress and brought us another new movie. This movie wasn't to scary for Robin it was Barbie in the Princess and the Pauper.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

America the Beautiful.

Appreciating the beauty of Our country.

We painted these beautiful pictures of "purple mountain majesties" after we discussed Katharan Lee Bates who wrote the poam America the Beautiful. Robin loved singing it with me.

Monday was a warmer than normal November day and we spent 3 hours playing outside.while I was going up and down on the seesaw with Duck I thought of a very cool art project we will be doing later this month.

We started back up with our state studies we are now studying Conneticut home of the first hamburger.

My littles really enjoyed making letter Hamburger patties.

Our Elf on a Shelf came to our house on Thanksgiving right before we ate. The kids named her Peppermint.

We woke up Friday morning to Peppermint's tea party she had after she returned from the north pole. Do you have an Elf? We would love you to leave a comment and tell us your Elf's name and what He/She has been up to.

Falcon is finishing up Treasure Island this week and continuing his studies on the Korean war.

We will be wrapping up our ocean theme next week and completing Robin's Sea Turtle project for Girl Scouts. I just need to decide how I want the project to look I keep changing my mind.