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.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Giant Edible Gingerbread House.

This was the Giant Gingerbread House that you could walk through. It is completely made out of food and is edible.

Here are the smaller houses that you could vote on.Local Culinary Arts students have designed and created gingerbread houses that are on display for a school project. They were amazing, the students spent 2 months planning their projects. Here are some of our favorites there were 38 in all.

23 was Robin's favorite.


It was hard to choose but this one was a favorite of Falcon and I. The pumpkin patch in the backyard was too cute!

Homeschool Mothers Journal- The Stinky edition!

In my life this week…
Ahhhhhh the smell of dead animals. About a month back we noticed rats in our crawl space addition that cannot be accessed easily. We were able to get some Decon down the wall that they had chewed a hole in and I had set traps outside as well. After 2weeks..... no more activity. Yay, they were gone! Decon is supposed to dry them out so when they die they don't smell. They did not until the new roofers screwed up which caused a delay in getting our gutters up when it POURED!.I never knew how important gutters are on a house until then. Well water got into the crawl space and re-hydrated the dead rats. Now it SMELLS! I did discover the smell was coming through the only access to the crawl, the small window. Wind was wafting in through the cracks giving my house the wonderful aroma of dead RAT!

Nothing a little Duct tape cant fix! I sealed the gaps around the window and for now I do not smell anything, YaY! Fingers crossed that the smell wont work it's way up through the floor boards in our dining room. I could fit through that window if I really wanted to but, there is only enough space in there to army crawl around and if the smell doesn't go away that will be the fun I will get to endure. So cross your fingers for me that they will dry back out and become one with the earth!

In our homeschool this week…
Well it was short but productive. I usually don't give extra days off besides Thanksgiving but my best friend is in town from Florida so we took Wed-Fri off. We did go to see a huge edible gingerbread house I will be blogging all about it in a few days and linking up to the homeschool field trip blog hop.

Outside my window...
I see Rain, rain and rain!

Questions/thoughts I have…
Thinking that maybe I might be ready to add another baby to our nest!As my 2 year old gets bigger I am sad to not have a baby around but happy at the same time that I am able to sleep longer stretches at night.

I’m cooking…
Thanksgiving Dinner and all the fix In's of course!

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

So sad that this is the way the world is moving. I love my tech toys but still take the time to unplug sometimes. I told my husband I wanted to start a TV and digital game free Sundays and he said sure go ahead but I won't be part of it! GRRRRRRR! Well I can't really tell the kids they cant do it but Daddy can. Maybe I will have one school day tech free were we will school without the use of any electronics, that would be a hard one!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pumpkin Play Doh and Peanut Dog Treats

The best dog treat recipes ever no raw ingredients so its safe for little helpers to play with.

Peanut Poppers
4 cups whole wheat flour
2T baking powder
2 cups milk
1 16 oz jar natural peanut butter (creamy works best)I use Smuckers natural

Knead together (I just throw it all in a bowl and squish it together with my hands. Once it's pretty much mixed I give each child a hunk to knead)then roll out to 1/4 in thick or roll them into one inch balls and smush them down with your palms
Bake 375 for 20 min

This recipe is so easy and nothing that is raw so the kids coud play with it all day then bake it for the dogs. My kids have even been known to eat the dough.
it will make enough treats to fill a big freezer bag. I store in the fridge to keep fresh longer mine have kept for 2 months in the fridge. I had them mold on me once in a jar under the sink but I forgot about them for 4 or more months! We love to make these as Christmas presents to family members who have dogs.

Here are our festive turkey treats

My son thought it would be funny to use the people cutter and feed the dog people. I thought it was rather funny myself!

We also made pumpkin pie play doh. It smells so good.
You'll Need:

2 cups of flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 cup cinnamon
1 Tbsp. cloves
1 Tbsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
2 cups water
2 Tbsp. oil

To Make:

1. Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and spices together in a mixing bowl.

2. Add the water and oil to the dry ingredients and mix together well.

3. Transfer mixture to a medium sized saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly.

4. The dough will begin to thicken and form. When it becomes difficult to stir and is more solid, remove from heat and carefully knead the dough. {Note: dough will be hot!}

5. When dough has cooled, have fun playing ~ this is great for the holidays!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up

We have moved on to step 2 of out monarch mounting. We have relaxed the wings in a container with wet paper towels for 3 days in our refrigerator. After the wings were re-hydrated and able to be moved we could position is how we would like for display. It will take two weeks like this for the wings to dry out again and remain in the position that it is now.

Continuing with our ocean/water/thanksgiving theme we were lucky enough to have a beautiful sunny 60 degree day to go up to one of the great lakes.

I took this picture with Robin's camera since my DSLR is currently broken. Her shutter was stuck and didn't open all the way but I really thought it created such and interesting picture.

Here we discussed how all water leads to the ocean so we cleaned up litter that washed up on the shores.

We gathered natural items from the shores and threw them off the pier into the water to see if they would sink or float.

Falcon found this interesting item washed up

We asked a gentleman at the beach and he said that it is a type of flower that is grown in the swamps. It had a bunch a bigger seeds inside it. He did not know the name of it though but it was rather cool.
There was a man that was wading in the water with a metal detector looking for treasures. We joked around saying he was a shipwrecked pirate looking for his gold!

Falcon watched this great movie, it has quizzes at the end which are great.

WE made peanut butter dog treats Falcon thought it was funny to use the people cookie cutter so he could feed the dogs people!

Falcon finished up his personal narrative that has been working on. He also started his studies on the Korean War. He wanted to take a break from the ancients to study the Korean war. He started watching this movie as well as reading a few books on the war.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

When It Rains In The House With A New Roof

In my life this week...
You know how we assume that men are born with the "handyman gene"? Well, my husband is just NOT that man. He is very technical and knows his way inside and out of nano technology and can fix computers, do electrical work and fix most computer type products but fix a pipe, hang a shelf, repair drywall he cannot. It all started with a trip to home depot to buy weather stripping for our back door. When he arrived home to get to work on the door and promptly put his hand through the glass window at the top of the door. He thought it was plexi glass. Sigh! We were able to get all the dogs and kids away from the glass safely and Papa bird was not hurt (just a small cut)but now he will have to figure out how to replace the glass. I don't think the weather stripping will work now that the door is missing glass.

So much for the new roof that we just had put on last week. It was raining BAD the day they were supposed to put the gutters up so they didn't come. We did however notice the water POURING INTO OUR HOUSE from the roof that is BRAND NEW. Of course the roofing company we used (Home Depot) was unavailable. After many towels, buckets, and cloth diapers the rain stopped. We then had a very soggy house. The
I'm reading...

This book was suggested to me by a fellow homeschool friend, Holly as well as a great art project that we will be finishing up this week. I am only on page 17 and this book is amazing. I already feel like a bad teacher but am ready to incorporate some new and great ideas to become a fantastic teacher. Again thank you to Holly for telling me about this book.

outside my window...
I see maples hanging on to the last few yellow leaves of the fall, blue skies and the woman across the street raking her leaves.

I'm cooking...
Apple cranberry crisp

Photo to share...

Up, up, up up...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mayflower/ Thanksgiving playset

We made our boats out of butter boxes which we covered the paper and cut a hole in the top. The sail was attached with a Popsicle stick. Robin and Duck decorated the ships and sails with markers and stickers. We had some Halloween stickers handy so we used those.

The boats crashing at Plymouth rock

We then built some houses and a meeting room out of Lincoln logs then I hot glued them in place. They were about to go to Goodwill because nobody played with them because it was to hard to build a house and a sibling would knock it over. Problem fixed with hot glue, now they love their sturdy homes.

Here the Native American girl was telling the pilgrim how to plant food and hunt. The pilgrim girl was telling the other girl about how all the adults were all very sick and the kids had to take over all chores and that they used their ship the Mayflower as a hospital. Robin was so excited about her new play set I couldn't believe how much she remembered from the books and stories we read as I listened to her play.

The very full Mayflower

Duck loved using his boat to hold snacks in, then I had to make one for Owl too!
Here he is at quite time on the couch with his snack boat.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tomatoes in space

In my life this week…
I had to go to a very close friends court hearing. He is up for 48 years for something that did not hurt anyone. He has Schizophrenia and was not taking his meds causing the voices in his head to take over. He will be held for another month at our county prison until the doctors get the paper work needed to the judge. What made me so sick is the fact that during the hearing he had to sit next to the man who molested a 9 year old girl at a local library a few weeks ago.

We are having an entirely new roof put on this week. Now it will no longer rain in our kitchen or foyer and if it does it will be under a 50 year warranty

Outside my window...
I see lots of shingles, and snow falling (just light flurries)

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
This week we took a field trip to Goodwill industries check out Monday's blog post about it.

My favorite thing this week was…
Going to the planetarium at the college I went to. After a 6 month renovation they just added The new Spitz SciDome XD projects more than 6.5 million pixels across the entire hemisphere of the 40-foot dome, more than double the resolution of the best HD television screens. The result is a feeling of immersion as planets, stars and nebulae rush past. All I can say about this show is WOW! I totally felt like I was sucked into outerspace.

Here is a clip, this is nowhere near as cool as seeing it project on a 40 foot dome ceiling with better quality than the best HD tv's but you get the drift.

While on the subject of space I would just like to take mintute and talk about Tomatosphere. you can sign up to receive seeds that have been to outer space. You will grow 2 sets of seeds and after they have germinated you can submit your results to find out which seedshave been to space. There is a TON of educational ideas on the website. We have grown tomatoes for 3 years in a row now and love it every time.

A book series Robin and I are enjoying this week is the We Read Series this one is her favorite that we have read so far.

The left side of the page is for the Adult to read and right side is simpler text for the child to read.

whats cooking...
After 30 lbs of weightloss and eating a primal/paleo diet I broke down when I was craving brownies and baked some right out of a box! All that gluten and yucky additives Bleh! It did taste good, but made me so sick to my stomache that I do not think I will make them ever again. I need to go look up some paleo bownies.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Behind the Scenes at Goodwill Industries

A few weeks ago I was shopping at a local Goodwill and thought to myself this would be a great place to set up a tour for our homeschool Girl Scout troop. After a few phone calls the President of our local Goodwill organization called me back and was very prompt in setting something up.

A Brief History

Goodwill was founded in 1902 in Boston by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator. Helms collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired those who were poor to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then resold or were given to the people who repaired them. The system worked, and the Goodwill philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out” was born.

We started with a video that explains all the inner workings of the company. What they do, how they do it and why.
Here is a clip I was able to find

The video only seems to be found on the Curiosity Quest Website. I really enjoyed the video I am going to see if I can get my hands on more in this series.I highly recommend viewing this even if you do not have a Goodwill in your area. It was very informative and geared toward kids my 11 and 5 year old both enjoyed it.

Here is a picture of all the sorting that goes on when stuff comes in.

If clothing is ripped stained or unwearable they make 1000 lb pallets out of it, which then get auctioned off. Many companies buy them to use as rags, insulation, re purposing and much more. So even if your clothing is in bad shape donate it to Goodwill anyway it can still be used. This was something new to me,I previously thought that all un wearable clothing were just thrown out.

This is a view of some of the books that they sell on places like the Amazon marketplace. This is something they just started doing this year.

There was an invoice of the first sale on July 11, 2011 taped on the wall I took a picture of it to post but it had a lot of the buyers personal information on it so I will not post it. The first book ever sold was

I thought this was rather ironic since Goodwill's mission is to help individuals get job training. Of all the books that could have been their first sale it was a book on jobs description writing.

They also have a big area that they sell on their website. If they feel it is an antique or something of great value it goes up on their website. They ship out at least one full truck each day from these online sales. Now I have a new place to look for those unique hard to find items.

The computer graveyard.

At some locations they rip them apart and make new computers out of all the old parts.

Here is the super Saran wrap machine that CPU towers are wrapped for protecting when shipping to another location.One of these can weigh 1800 lbs.

Falcon thought the big box of mice was cool.

Here is a John Deer combine, I bet this would go for a pretty penny at a toy auction. I am not sure what they are doing with it though he said it might be to big to ship.

After the tour we went shopping Robin and I found this cute shirt with a sparkly bird how fun that her blog-o-sphere name is Robin and we find this cute shirt.

Get involved.
The Goodwill website has just launched a kids section to get more kids in on the donation movement. Kids can create clothing drives and play online games. Head on over to http://donate.goodwill.org/kids/

Don't forget to like them on facebook as well.

A very big thank you to our local Goodwill President for giving us this great opportunity and all of the very friendly staff.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Our week in Review

For my littles we started an ocean theme for this month.

Falcon- is still working though his earth Science Unit we should be done with it by the middle of next week. Not sure if we will move on to genetics or astronomy next. I will have to see what Falcon decides.

Robin- Is learning all about the habitats of Sea turtles and jellyfish we are also talking about greener ways to help turtles, ocean pollution and the earth.I started reading this book to Robin

One of the chapters we read was all about plumbing and where your waste water goes so we followed all our pipes in the basement and I explained to them which pipes were fresh water and which were waste water. They especially thought the big pipe that the toilet water goes down was cool. They all took turns running upstairs to flush the toilet to hear the water rushing through the pipes. When we had company over this week they waited to show them all about the pipe that the poop goes in!I also discovered a leaky pipe so we will be calling the plumber next week.

Falcon- is working on Ancient Egypt

Robin- is workimg on her American Girl Felicity unit. We went to a fancy tea time at an older house that was built in the 1900 but was decorated with a late 1700 style. There was a 2 hour wait to be seated and Robin was not interested in staying. One of the docents felt so bad for her that she took us upstairs part of the house that was closed and gave us a private tour. Robin and Falcon were excited about our private led tour we all enjoyed looking through all the rooms and hearing the history of the house. There were many items that Felicity would have used here is a picture of one of the bedrooms with a cradle, fireplace, and bed warmer.

Robin and Falcon also made Tin punched lanterns.

As a family we are memorizing the 7 sea turtles there are.We painted picture of baby sea turtles making their way across the beach the We also did a water tension experiment with pepper (we did it like 8 times in row the kids loved it)

Here is a video I pulled from you tube.
We also made our tin punched lanterns for our Felicity project
The monarch butterfly that our neighbor gave us in the the fridge right now so we can relax the wings to start the mounting process.

Robin lost her first tooth yesterday. It makes me sad that she is getting older but happy that she is getting older to. When she was 10 days old I was changing her diaper on the floor of my Mother in laws living room when her eyes rolled back in her head. She was foaming at the mouth and went into a full blown grand mal seizer, she then stopped breathing and turned blue. Thank goodness my mother in law was right next to me at the time and was able to give her CPR and get her to start breathing again while I was on the phone with 911. That was the scariest thing I ever had to go through that is an image I will never be able too erase from my mind. After many days in the hospital and lots of tests they never did figure out what happened to her, but she is a happy healthy 5 year old now.

This is Robin the morning before her seizer.

We worked of other subjects but nothing else of note to mention. So how was your week?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Homeschool mothers journal

In my life this week…
It was typical week of ups and downs.I was a bit on edge this week having a shorter temper so I really had to try to keep that under control. My husband was out of town for most of the week for a business thing in Vegas. He said he went to the coolest Irish Pub, everyone in the bar spoke with such authentic Irish accents. He asked their waitress how they spoke it so well and she replied by showing him her work visa. She said the entire staff is imported in from Ireland on a work Visa for one year.I had never heard of anything like this! He said it was the coolest bar you really felt immersed in and Irish culture. For dinner one night he ate a Guinness beef stew, not sure I would like that one but he said it was wonderful!

This was his favorite beer it is called Delirum I love the bottle so cute. It was $10a bottle at the Irish Pub. We found some at a local specialty beer and wine store in town for $4.00 a bottle! I didnt think it tasted that great but my husband swears its the best beer ever!

In our homeschool this week…
We have moved a lot of our schooling down to the finished basement that we use as a playroom and it has been working out great so far. Owl and duck play after circle time is over and Robin can work on stuff down there with my help. This week we started out our month long unit on the ocean. Robin is doing great memorizing the 7 sea turtles left.I did run into a rough spot with Falcon though. He wasn't completing his work everyday and telling me he did. So he no longer gets any tv or video game time unless I have gone over all his work for the day.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
The day before my husband left we did take the family on a lantern tour a local battle grounds to hear about ghost stories. It was very interesting to hear some of the stories they had to tell of the haunted soldiers who still have not left the battle field. Falcon meet up with some homeschooled friends for bowling. I organized a group and boys ages 10-13 to meet up once a month to just be boys and have fun. We went to a rather nice bowling alley that offers 1 dollar games from 10 am to 12pm. It was nice seeing him play and have fun with kids his own age who have similar lives. I enjoyed chatting with the mothers and my 3 little ones had a blast bowling as well. It was a little farther out than I would have liked but it only cost me $13.00 for all 4 kids to bowl and have fun for 2 1/2 hours!




My favorite thing this week was…
Coming across a blog doing a 30 play challenge. The goal is to take just 15 minutes out of your day to fully focus on your kids and play. This sounds like a great idea to me.I am around my kids all day sometimes I forget that when school time is over the day is not and that I need to really be more engaged in play with my kids.So today was day 3 of the challenge day 1 for me though and today we played with our wooden blocks on the train table and created a zoo making exhibits for each animal. It was fun.

I am reading...

Great book Falcon and I reading I came across it by chance at the library I am so glad I found it.

I’m cooking…
Today I made chicken noodle soup and Robin and I made Coconut Lemon squares for dessert.