Bye Bye Little Miss Molly

Our beloved dog Little Miss Molly has passed away.

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She had a fantastic life!

Her younger years were thrilling. She was a fantastic therapy dog. She worked with kids in various preschools. She competed in agility. She was chosen to play the dog in the play ANNIE. She worked on some TV sets. She was featured on AFV. She made her way into a doggie calendar. She attempted sheep hearding for fun, and did well until she decided mutton might be a tasty treat! She was full of life and lived her life to the fullest!

And then came KIDS. Those darn kids stunted her fame and fortune, but not her fun! She adored being a family dog too. The kids adored her, their friends adored her and she adored the attention. She spent her days hunting lizards and rodents, occasionally playing a smidgen too rough with the chickens (oops!) always doing something ridiculously funny, like finding her way on to the kitchen table sipping tea from a fancy tea cup. Or sleeping on our heads. Often scaling the back of the sofa like a cat might do. On occasions she would bravely do something very scary like scale the second story trellis and chase a bird across the scaffolding!

Towards the end, her life was becoming not so fun. She was riddled with arthritis and some paralysis in her hind legs. She seemed too old to learn how to use her new wheelchair, and too weak to hold up the weight of a doggie diaper, so her mobility and comfort started to deteriorate quickly and at the ripe old age of 17 we had to make that horrid choice.

We tried to give her the best up until the end, but in the last week, she was literally being picked up and moved from one bed to the next using absorbent pads and doing a LOT of dog bed and dog washing (at least three loads a day!) She would wet herself, whimper, we’d wash her off and move her to the next dry clean bed and do a load of doggie bed laundry to make up the next dry clean bed for the future. Rotating the three beds all day long. Giving many medications to keep her comfortable. It wasn’t the adventurous life she was used to by any stretch of the imagination!

We made the appointment to have her put down and my daughter wanted to hold her when it happened, so I sat on the floor, she sat on my lap, Molly laid in my daughters lap and the boys watched from the side. It was a very tearful and sad day. We buried her and had a funeral for her. The vet was VERY SWEET…making this memorial plaque for us and giving us a very personalized card with all the employees writing a touching note.

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We were blessed with 17 years of Molly the amazing dog!!! We miss you greatly Molly Moo!!! ❤️

Just everyday life…

Recently I’ve been asked so many homeschool questions by both homeschooling mamas and schooling mamas thinking about homeschooling and mamas that can’t even fathom homeschooling. Seems like the universe is sending loads of questions my way. Maybe to remind me I have this severely neglected blog here.

Anyhow, here is a collection of recent pics and activities in our day. Which is what most people seem to want. A fly on the wall glimpse into our days.

Most of our days start off with groggy sleepy eyed kids waking up on their own terms. Typically my son is first, he will crawl into my bed, snuggle up and read the news on his iPad (News-o-Matic app for iPad, has current affairs in kid safe articles) while I check my email and surf the web. Eventually my super sleeper daughter will wake up, she loves her snooze time! And then the kids will often play games, Legos, or some other free choice activity while I feed the chickens, rabbits, water the garden, make breakfast, etc…

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Morning Lego time…I’m sometimes convinced they think they are clever and this is the perfect academic procrastination scheme, because as we get closer to anything resembling classroom activities, they get along super well, they start building amazing projects that a mother would never want to stop in exchange for book work! You’ve never seen such team work!❤

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Right now Legos, robotics, digital design are all favorites. FYI – Lego digital design is a free download that my kids love! They can design ANYTHING using ALL Lego pieces on the computer, print off their designs and have step by step directions to build their projects. And in some cases give the directions to friends to see if their friends can build their designs.

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Some days the kiddos do their academics with ease, happy smiles, efficient flow, and all is blissful, but don’t be fooled. We have our moments when it comes to school like activities!

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Can you see her enthusiasm for today’s writing and math lessons. Haha!

We have been reading this book for a more interesting math experience in addition to our more classroom like math lessons.

A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe:

Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science
by Michael S. Schneider
Link: http://amzn.com/0060926716

You can see here, the kids were intrigued by a comment in the beginning of the book about triangle numbers, square numbers, rectangle numbers. Who teaches about shape numbers? What are shape numbers? Why are they mentioned? Well my kids played around with little disc markers, trying to find out what pattern was the book talking about.

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This is what they discovered:

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Seems like something simple now looking at it, but figuring it out on your own took MUCH MORE creative brain power then their classroom like math lessons.

Hands-on activities, project based learning is MUCH MORE PRODUCTIVE in our household, but it can also be more difficult to document in the event one must prove academic advancement. So to make that easy on my record keeping, my kiddos are subjected to boring old paperwork as well as hands-on projects and an overall educational lifestyle.

Here is a hands on activity that wasn’t planned SCHOOL, but was very educational. The kids and I watched a documentary on sugar and the western diet. (THAT SUGAR FILM on Netflix)

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This spurred a family attempt to document and cut out as much processed sugar as possible. Day one, we decided to go with ZERO processed sugar grams, as we already eat a fairly low sugar diet compared to many families. (Any often times pretty colorful) here are some example meals: lots of raw fruit n veg! My son is VERY PICKY when it comes to foods, but he will eat raw fruit n veg any day, so I don’t worry about his health, just crack up when people talk about cooking. Ask me what I’m making for dinner. Long ago, I stopped cooking and started serving food types instead! Haha!
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So back to sugar intake, day one, zero processed sugars is the goal. UPS shows up, dropping off belated EASTER BASKETS FROM GRANDMA FULL OF SUGARY GOODNESS! Soooo to not be a complete kill joy on such an exciting shipment. We decided to limit daily processed sugars which lent a hand to MORE MATH!🙂

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The kids had a limit of 15 grams per day. They needed to figure out how many grams of sugar were in PEEPS and other candies. How many can they have each day? Do they want two peeps or half a peep and half a box of butter cookies? They worked out every item in their baskets and labeled them with post it notes. Made charts to document their daily sugar intake.

AND THEN CAME CONSUMPTION…

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We definitely count outside classes as part of school. And we are loaded up this year with extra classes! Jazz, Ballet, homeschool PE, drums, guitar, ukulele, keyboarding, yoga, horse riding, robotics, scouts, and more…

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Planning to reach Eagle Scout rank takes years of prep work and a lot of learning…I definitely count scouts as school work!
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Earning Merit Badges is often a lot like classroom work as well as combining some hands on activities. Here our son is learning/earning and environmental merit badge.

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And of course there is always time in the day to discover too many ashes in the mini BQQ that need to become ash bombs! Which are far more powerful and messy then a dirt clod! Aka BOY HEAVEN!

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I think our days are fairly average…some good….some not so good…but the best part about homeschooling is I get to experience so much of my kids lives with them.❤

Our Annual Pumpkin Toss

Happy Thanksgiving

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Before we had kids, my husband and I both felt Thanksgiving was a terribly boring holiday for kids. We decided to make it a more kid friendly fun holiday and turns out it is one of our favorites now! One of the events we host is our annual pumpkin toss and the kids love it! As Joy from INSIDE OUT would say, it’s a core memory in the making!  The day after Halloween I buy anywhere from 75-100 pumpkins at the pumpkin patch. They sit patiently waiting for Thanksgiving Day.

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We try many techniques, under hand, over hand, left hand, right hand, kick it, roll it, smash it, catapult it, fling it, etc…and every year we think, that darn bush, my pumpkin would have won if that bush wasn’t in the way! Next year we should trim that bush back!

When the event is over, we hike down the canyon and smash all the pumpkins open, which is great fun! We are hoping to one day have our own wild pumpkin patch down in the canyon, but to date no random pumpkin plants. We also like to smash them open so the wild life can enjoy the Thanksgiving feast! We see rabbits eating the pumpkins and assume many other critters nibble away too, like wild pigs, coyotes, fox, birds, etc..

I think the kids are getting clever enough now that next year they might be building projects that start months in advance to really get the pumpkins flying! Maybe that could be a homeschool science project! Hmm my wheels are turning! Research project, building project, this could be good!

We hope everyone in the states had a nice Thanksgiving and are ready for the holiday season ahead, which is blowing right past at lightening speed!

SnakeS!

Plural! As in TWO snakes caught in my garden net!

First off I planted a lovely garden which clearly the wildlife enjoyed too! Because one morning I came out to water a bunch of teensy green nubs of what used to be a lovely lush green garden!

After nursing what was left, and seeing some life come back into my garden, I decided I needed to net the garden to avoid the evil plotting of the local wild life on my garden!

The net worked well. After a couple of weeks, I decided to replant a few of the spots that were clearly not going reinvent their lives and make a come back.

As I walked out to my chicken coop to feed my flock, collect eggs and water my garden (doesn’t that sound so peaceful, can you hear the morning birds chirping?) I was startled by a flicking snake tail! Thank heavens it wasn’t a rattler!

Upon closer investigation I see that TWO gopher snakes…clearly on the hunt for a yummy gopher snack, were beyond tangled up in the left over netting from my netted garden.

See the tail –>image

 

And the head –>image

 

Side note: a lot of snakes die this way and so if you have spare netting lying around, please collect it and put it up high off the ground. Gopher snakes are good friends. They will scare the s h i t out of you, because they look and can act like a rattle snake, but they are a friend and will help with gopher over population!

 

(Rattle snakes are born with at least one button on their tail and will always have a rattle, gopher snakes do not have buttons or rattles)

Here is a link to tell the difference between gopher and rattle snakes.

http://www.pe.com/articles/hayes-762525-rattlesnakes-bites.html

Scroll down to rattle snake pictures and you will find it (last picture in the set)

 

Anyhow, back to the problem at hand…what is one to do here? My husband says kill the snakes. I say no…keep the good snakes alive so the bad snakes don’t take over!

(Another side note: King snakes will kill and eat rattle snakes)

Instead we cut them out and sent them off with our local animal rescue to the vet. The vet can take the tight netting off without cutting the snake and then give it a good exam and set it back into the wild.

 

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As the animal rescue woman was leaving our property another giant gopher snake was crossing our driveway…it’s amazing we still have any gophers!

And yet another side note: gopher snakes can climb trees! They will if required go looking for prey up in trees, we’ve had one flop out of a tree and land on the ground in front of my daughter…who is also an avid tree climber, so always keep a keen eye out when playing in nature, but remember gopher snakes are a friend.

alls well that ends well….two good snakes kept their lives for another day of gopher hunting.

Whale Watching Field Trip

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This week we decided to stock up on Dramamine and go whale watching! It was great fun! We watched a couple of whales for a while, traveling at roughly their same speed and expecting their spouts at the 4-6 minute mark. Very predictable, which was nice for the kids. However, the photos we captured look more like barnacle filled rocks with a poof of spray…as seen here:

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It was much more exciting in person! And my son got some fantastic glimpses using his binoculars!

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However, we did find (or maybe they found us?) a very playful and large pod of dolphins.

One of the dolphins my daughter named Hannah and said she could identify her by the rake marks on her back. When we got home she was thrilled to find out I captured Hannah on the camera twice!

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Hannah is now a favorite and she wishes she could track Hannah’s life. This moment has spurred a desire to learn more about wildlife/biology.

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We spied some lazy sea lions sleeping in the sun on a buoy.

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The most interesting and exciting part of whale watching for my kiddos were the dolphins, by far! There were mamas, babies, fast swimmers, jumpers and curious cruisers that would look up sideways at the boat trying to figure us out.

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If you are interested in learning more about whale watching (or dolphin watching haha) you can find a plethora of web sites on the web…here is a site to start with: http://www.whalewatching.com

Have fun!

Side notes: One question that came up on our drive home was how do barnacles reproduce if they are stuck on a whale or a rock? If you too were curious, here is the answer…Beware barnacles are apparently porn stars!

https://baynature.org/articles/how-do-barnacles-make-baby-barnacles/

And a great documentary to watch after a day of enjoying the beautiful ocean is: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2277946/

it is a good reminder of what we can do to keep our oceans healthy and let those barnacles continue on with their rock star parties!

Bed Head Mornings

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As my son woke up this morning (at 9:45!) He had a bummed look on his face. I asked, what’s wrong? He replies that Charmander (a stuffed animal) gave him a smug look as he got out of bed, because Charmander gets to stay in bed all day! Little does he know, he stayed in bed roughly 3 hours longer than most school kids did this morning!

Our Week in Pictures

Not sure how many of you remember my daughters adventures with pink hair a while back…

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The color stayed in her hair for over a year!

And stained a few things along the way!

She is finally back to a more natural color and all week she has been telling me she wants to color it blue now, or maybe purple, or possibly red…

Her friend who attends public school, told her she’s not allowed to color her hair until summer, it’s against the rules, then she remembered we homeschool…

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Few rounds of ping-pong took place.

imageSome attempts to find new planets, stars, etc…but something was “clogging the lens”, so now the telescope is collecting dust in my entryway, along with five billion coats no one wears!

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Reading…lots of reading this past week!

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Dreaded worksheets!

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Clay creations and sewing projects.

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I told her of a local homeschooling girl who made clothes for her dog; since this is one of my daughters favorite past times and one of our dogs most dreaded duties, she promptly decided she needs to go into business with this other girl, whom she’s never met! Haha!

We went on lots of walks!

Trying to identify plants, not so good yet at this adventure!

Anyone know what this flower is?

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Swinging stick weapons in our best rock star pose.

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Trying to steal sticks away from the dog.

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 Cruising up the road…we walked a ton this past week!

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We had friends join us on our walks.

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Of course we always have play dates with friends!

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Time for a make over! Boys included, most of the time he is the make up artist or desperately trying to convince them they are beautiful enough to play a game of dead man on the trampoline now!

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My son has been reading and creating a TON of these “mini weapons of mass destruction!

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I highly recommend this book! Amazon.com has several from the series. I think the ninja version will be making its way to our house in the near future!

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Comedy watching her attempt to saddle a tall horse! Especially with a western saddle! The english saddles are much lighter!

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Tricycles aren’t always for toddlers!

My son found this tricycle at the horse stables and attempted to go down hills fast enough then stand up on the seat. Think there is more practice needed…and maybe a helmet?

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Love our FLL opportunities!

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Lego Robotics is a favorite for sure!

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We also love chess club!

(Which ends with friends and s’mores around the fire)

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Sidewalk walk chalk is still a ton of fun!

Another past time that isn’t  just for toddlers!

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Adventure Time is a current favorite.

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Climbed a few trees, Have I mention I have a couple of monkeys?

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We ended our week with a Girl Scout camp out.

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And a great game of “Sharks n Minnows” on an air pad…because camping apparently isn’t all “nature” anymore!?!?

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Came home, took a nice hot bath to shed camping scuzzzz of our bods and are ready for a nice new week full of new adventures!