Monday, October 31, 2011

Sea turtles

WE read many books on sea turtles today
National Geographic Readers: Sea Turtles
Into the Sea by Brenda Z. Guiberson and Alix Berenzy
Follow the Moon Book and CD by Sarah Weeks and Suzanne Duranceau

We painted these pictures of turtles just hatched swimming to the moon.

From left to right Robin's picture was of Kemp's Ridly, Owl's was just a green sea turtle, and Falcon painted the Olive Ridley turtles. Duck didn't feel like painting he just threw some paint on the paper then walked away.

This was our first day of studying Sea Turtles we plan continuing studies on them all week and sticking with an ocean theme throughout the month of November.

We found a nice flat rock then Robin painted it with indoor outdoor waterproof paint.
After it was dry I hot glued the head and flippers on. NOTE: do not paint the underside the glue will just pull the paint off and it will not stick. We tried this and that's what happened so we had to re glue everything. I know the eyes look silly there but Robin insisted that I add them.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All things pumpkin

Our lovely pumpkins we carved.

Of course we saved the seeds to roast.
Rinse seeds then coat with olive oil, salt and pepper then roast for 30-40 min until golden brown and crunchy.

Pumpkin cut out cookies
4 cups flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 salt
1/2 nutmeg
1 cup of butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1 t vanilla

bake 375 for 10-12 min.
Pumpkin frosting (all ingedients for frosting are approximate as I add a little more or less to taste and texture here is a starting point though. It if is to thick add more pumpkin puree. If it is to thin add more butter or sugar.

2 and 1/2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree (I make mine from scratch but I'm sure canned will work.)
1 t pumpkin pie spice
16 oz of powdered sugar

Decorate with dark chocolate chips or chunks

Pumpkin Spice Latte
makes 1-2 servings

2 cups milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-2 shots espresso (about 1/4 cup of espresso or 1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee if you don't have an espresso machine.)

Yummy Pumpkin Breakfast Smoothie
1 cup yogurt
3/4 cup canned pumpkin, chilled
1/2 cup ice cubes
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon Honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves
1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen
Dash of ground cinnamom for garnish

I have hundreds of pumpkin recipes but here is what we made this week! I love pumpkin.

Homeschool mothers journal- Raining Elephants

In my life this week…
Last time it rained it poured, literally in my kitchen. So this week we have had roofing companies giving us estimates. I didn't realize how much a new roof would be.We had lots of running around to do this week. When I spoke to my husband at 1pm on Thursday I said to him "My day has been very busy but not so productive" he then replied "If you were busy then you must have been productive. Not being productive would be laying on the couch eating Bons Bons." I guess this is true, so I may not have done what I had planned but if I was busy I was doing something!

In our homeschool this week…
I made a new lesson plan type list that has been working pretty well. Robin was selling magazines for girl scouts and my awesome mother in law bought us a bunch of educational magazine subscriptions.

My favorite thing this week was…
Getting a new toothbrush holder from Target that can actually fits all our toothbrushes. Owl broke my favorite duck one earlier this week, it only held 4 toothbrushes though and there are 6 of us so it was a blessing in disguise. I wasn't so crazy about the look of it but the kids loved it and it fit all our toothbrushes so it won the functionality award from me and cuteness award from the kids.

The more I look at it the more it grows on me. It has to nice big holes to fit lots of toothbrushes and is sturdy enough that the kids cannot tip it over.

What’s working/not working for us…
I moved our morning circle time down to our finished basement where all our toys are and this has worked out well. After circle time is over I can get Owl and Duck interested in some toys while I work of school with Robin and Falcon. I used to do all our school work in our dining room but I don't keep a lot of toys on our main floor so Duck and Owl were getting into thing they shouldn't and I wont let them in the basement by them selves either because they get into things they shouldn't down there as well. We have 3 computers in the basement so they love to mess up our desks.

I’m reading…
Falcon and I are both reading this. Very interesting book with lots of very big full color pictures of different stones and crystal. This compliments our earth studies unit we are working on right now quite well.

I’m cooking…
Cut out pumpkin cookies. Every since I was Little my mother would make pumpkin cut out cookies and we would make faces on them with chocolate chips. I have continued this tradition with my children and every October we make these as well. If anyone has a tried ad true cutout cookie recipe that is gluten free I would LOVE you to share it. We have gone gluten free but for sake of tradition we made our cookies with Gluten this year until I have tried out and taste tested an alternative. I didn't want to turn a fun tradition into something not so fun if a new recipe was gross. She passed away from cancer 3 years ago and I didn't get the recipe from her before that, my dad and I searched but we never found the recipes. So I have been using one a friend gave me from her aunt. If you are interested I will be blogging on Thursday about the many pumpkin recipes I love including my pumpkin cookies with pumpkin frosting.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Monday, October 24, 2011

Squirrel Crazy

-The Squirrels home was made out of a plastic gallon jug with silk leaves glued onto it. Elmer's and tacky glue did not work so well I ended up hot gluing it after the kids tried with different types of white glue.

-Squirrels I used 3 old toddler socks stuffed the head with a Styrofoam egg then stuffed body and tail with fiberfill. I used liquid stitch to glue on the arms, legs, and ears. I drew a face on with a permanent marker. They turned our pretty cute!

We gathered acorns outside and plan to play many math games with those and the squirrel home later in the week.

We read

Robin and Duck are working on gathering as much food (cardboard blocks) as they can and placing it in their nest in the tree (their rug) with enough room to fit on it and sleep too!

They had a lot of fun with this, they really understood how the squirrels need to gather as much as they can before food runs out and still have enough room to fit in their house as well.

We plan on rowing Squirrel Nutkin all week and discussing in more detail the story. We also gather sticks today to make rafts with.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chasing Butterflies

I had big plans to get lots of school work done today since we are going several places at the end of the week but things change I am learning to go with the flow.
I had to run to the store to go buy bleach and a scrub brush to clean the rat blood off my driveway! I thought for just a minute how I could incorporate rats into our studies but was to grossed out by the idea and we have already done WAY to many gross school stuff this year. Like when we grew maggots and hatched baby flies my daughter did win GRAND prize for that project at the state fair. Anyway,we noticed that we have some rats living under the addition to our house and under the cement steps in the backyard so I had placed traps outside after the dogs were in for the night I was lucky enough to catch some come morning , YUCK! They made a big nasty mess too! I wasn't planning on a store run today but I couldn't leave the blood there so off we went.

On the way back I decided to stop at a local park for the kids to play at the playground well it was under construction so I went in search of another one. I heard there was a smaller one in the park but I had never found it. After about 6 minutes r driving around I did finally find it. I loved the little play area it was so unique. It had a very strange modern art looking play areas the kids didn't know what to do at first but after I started climbing on them they got it and had a blast. We ran through the meadow area chasing a white butterfly Owl spotted. I then spotted a Monarch, which was awesome because we have been studying them. We literally chased it through the meadow watching as is landed from flower to flower laughing and giggling along the way. After being so tuckered out from the running we layed down on a hills next to the forest watching the leaves sway and dance in the breeze (it was a very windy day.) We rolled down the hill many times and literally spun, laughed, rolled and ran until we were all nauseous. I wish I would have brought the camera it was just such a perfect day.

On top of our fun adventures at the park we actually accomplished about 65% of what I had planned for the day although I did not plan to have so much fun and enjoy life at the park today I am so glad we did.

The rest of the week was hit and miss we had a plumber out to do some work in our kitchen and the security company wiring and installing our new system.

I got this great book for Robin when Boarders was going out of business. Its a magnetic book with magnetic words that you complete the sentences with. Below is a sentence she did all by herself at the back of the book. We had a lot of fun creating silly and serious sentences.

A game I made up for fine motor and math skills. We used to large dice then added and subtracted using snow balls (cotton balls) and tongs they had fun putting the correct amounts on their rugs.

Falcon is working on writing a personal narrative right now that I am hoping he will have completed by the end of next week.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A jouney to Sweden, camping and Game play.

The country our homeschool group was studying this month was Sweden. Falcon chose to do his presentation as if he was a travel agent trying to sell tickets to Sweden. He chose 3 locations and in Sweden and explained the many tourist attractions at each all the while adding humor and facts of Sweden along the way. He did a GREAT job on this project and wish I would have video taped it. Robin did a lapbook and included such things as the Great Grey owl (which is found in Sweden and is one of the Worlds largest owls with its wingspan reaching 5 feet) and Pippy Longstocking. She did very well herself and she was very proud of herself.

An over all theme I worked on with my littles was a camping theme this will be a 2 week unit and we will be working on it next week as well.

A book favorite of mine was Mr. Magee and his camping Spree, Curious George Goes Camping was fun too!

I stopped by Barnes & Nobles and was able to get these items for 75% off

This Magic School Bus Human body kit will be great when we do the human body in a few months.

These 2 games were quick fun learning games to help with colors and math skills. They loved using the turtle shells to hold the bones in. They also loved the dog game so much we picked up some polymer clay to make more dog bones to make this weekend for more math games I thought up. Great buy for 3 bucks a piece.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Get up and Dance, see Cookie Monster then go to Jail

Sometimes you just gotta get up and dance. On Friday I decided to pop in the kids Halloween CD from the library which prompted all the kids to come in and start dancing. I had so much fun with them for 45 mins and monster dancing craziness. I need to get fun kids CD's more often and do this, especially with winter coming. It will be a great way to get out energy. The kids made up all sorts of dancing games. A favorite was yelling "Boo!" at each other and then falling over in fear. My neighbors might have been wondering why I was blasting Ghostbusters and Thriller at 10 o'clock in the morning. They already know I am strange though. I was caught by my neighbor over the weekend in his driveway with a flashlight, spray bottle and a camera trying to get a perfect shot of a spider web.I like being strange through it's better than being a sheep!

Baking was a topic we touched on this week. We made our first loaf of gluten free bread and topped it with home made butter and apple butter that we made for our ongoing American Girl history unit. we Also baked Swedish lemon squares and enjoyed them during our afternoon tea time we started.

Books we read are
The Little Red Hen
A Little Bit of Love (cute story about baking with love)
Strawberry Shortcake Berry Bitty Bakers (Lemon meringue made lemon squares just like we did for Sweden Studies)

Field trips:
We went to the library and saw cookie monster. Our library just got a grant from PNC bank so there was a great event that the kids could take part in. They had a photo studio set up to dress up an any career and get you picture taken in front of a green screen that they digitally added a themed background to. Falcon dresses as a doctor it was the closest thing to a biologist, Robin dresses as a ballerina zookeeper, duck dressed as a construction worker, and owl dresses as a firefighter. It came in a nice frame and everything for free ,Yay! We also ran into our neighbors there that just started homeschooling.

Cookie Monster holding Owl's toy Cookie Monster!

Our city just opened a police museum. The museum was run by retired police officers who loved sharing their stories with us. The kids got their mugshots taken and got to climb in an old fashioned police wagon.A big hit from the museum was the small jail cell they had, they used original bars taken from the first jail in our town.The kids really liked locking me up as well as each other.

I really enjoyed looking at the wall of mugshots taken from pickpockets in the 1800's

It was a small museum and was not worried about my kids wandering around until Owl was missing I couldn't find him anywhere. I finally looked in the back of the police wagon and he was just laying in there content as can be strapped down to the gurney. Robin strapped him in then left him there. It was a little funny but I was trying not to laugh as I was explaining to Robin that what she did was not nice.

Meet Siren she was a kitten that lives there.

One of the the cats that lives at another police station had babies and gave other police stations the kittens to keep. Very cute! My kids loved the cat just as much as the rest of the museum.

I enjoyed playing mancala outside on a warm sunny day. I beat
Falcon 3 times in a row which is unusual because Mancala is a very mathematical game, and well, I suck at math. I was excited to win, he was a sore loser though and cried about it! Yes, my 11 yr old cried because he lost a game! Robin was watching and very interested so I showed her how to play she caught on very quickly, I did let her win though. Once she gets the hang of it I will play to my fullest though.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Spider Babies and Amazing Arachnids Adventures

Spiders are not insects they are Arachnids

Movies we watched
Magic school bus Creepy Crawly
Charlotte's web
Jeff Corwin experience Arachnids and Insects
Show me science, biology: mini works of insects and spiders.
This was a great movie really kept my younger ones interest but provided enough facts to satisfy my 10 year old. Their favorite part was when a caterpillar made his home out of super sticky poop blocks. Eeeewwww! The suggested age on this was grade 4-8 but I think it is better suited for K-4

Our favorite spider books:
Diary of a spider
Miss spiders Tea Party

Our spider egg

We used medical gauze to paper mache a balloon after it hardened (5 days) we glued and hung freshly hatching baby spiders from it. (we used assorted Halloween rings and toy spiders)

We went on a hunt for house spiders I was shocked that we did not find any. We did find some old dusty abandoned spider webs on the rafters in the basement. Later that night I was cleaning up the toys in the playroom when my husband said with urgency
"Go upstairs right now and take the kids." He later told me that a 2-3 inch spider ran right in front of me. He was able to find it and smash it. I usually let the small house spiders live but a big hairy one NOWAY! Luckily the kids never saw that big one or I believe that they wouldn't have hung out in the playroom for a long time.

We went on a few nature walks searching for webs and just as I was about to give up I found a really neat one right next to my window on the side of the house. I misted it with some water to get a better picture of it just as my neighbor came out and wonder what the heck I was doing. After we laughed, he took me 1 more house down to see a spider he said he has been watching all week on the other side of his house.

Spider web next to my window.

The spider our neighbors showed us just two houses down from ours.

We made spider webs and put spider stickers on them.

We we also lucky enough to find a prefectly in tact dead house spider hanging on my dads front door. Being a homeschooler we of course took it home to examine under magnifying glasses. It was very cool you could see its compounds eyes and hairs on its legs.

Spider fact: in the fall spiders are not trying to get into your house so they can stay warm. They are in fact looking for a mate. Fall is mating season for spiders. The males are running around everywhere in search of females, and the females are busy makes beautiful webs. That is why its seems like spiders are more abundant in the fall. lots of males are just out looking for females.