Dude Perfect!

If you aren’t familiar with DUDE PERFECT, a¬†YouTube sensation that is marvelous according to my kiddos! then you might want to check them out!

As a parent I am happy DUDE PERFECT is who my kiddos choose to watch, because they are a group of friends having good clean fun! I haven’t heard any swearing, or anything inappropriate for that matter, and they are hilarious!

Well maybe one episode wasn’t super clean. ūüí©

Anyhow, when my son heard his scout troop was going to spend the night on the U.S.S. Midway he was thrilled, not because HOW COOL IS THAT, GET TO SPEND THE NIGHT ON AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER?!?!?!?!……nope, he’s thrilled because….

…. he would be staying in the same location as his favorite YouTubers have been!

(One of the trick shots is off the U.S.S. Midway)

He is happy to pose in some of the same poses as his favorite youtubers!

 

Here is Ty on the U.S.S. Midway

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Here is my son on the U.S.S. Midway

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Of course as a Boy¬†Scout earning merit badges they had all kinds of fun activities, but the fact the DUDE PERFECT crew was in the same location made his trip complete! ‚̧ԳŹ

 

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Now, his FIRST LEGO LEAGUE robotic team is going to the state championships soon and he is hoping they win, once again, not because that’s the point of competitions, but BECAUSE the national tournament is in TEXAS and “mom that’s where DUDE PERFECT lives, maybe we can go meet them!?!?” Uhhh not always that easy dear. Texas is a big state and it’s not polite to show up on someone’s doorstep unannounced, bit rude and stalkerish…plus DUDE PERFECT is a busy crew…but of course honey if you want to dream, dream the big dreams! ‚̧ԳŹ Maybe one day you and your sis will meet your favorite youtubers!!! But for now, please flip that water bottle OUTSIDE!!!

 

 

 

***ps I hope there aren’t any legal problems I’m unaware of with sharing DUDE PERFECT clips here? If there is, please tell me and I’ll pull them down!

Thanksgiving Traditions

As some of you know we have Thanksgiving Traditions here that the kids LOVE! Our annual pumpkin toss and turkey shoot.

I thought for sure the kids would build contraptions, but instead they decided to choose smaller pumpkins and use lacrosse sticks to chuck their little pumpkins down the canyon.

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Mom won,¬†of course with her magical bowling roll with a twist manure ¬†haha… it was a close tie for second place…and oddly several pumpkins went farther down the canyon than¬†any¬†other pumpkins have in the past, we must be perfecting our throws!

I just found out this year that for many years my good friends thought our annual turkey shoot was actually shooting our thanksgiving turkey! …nope, we shoot turkey targets! Sometimes that means photos of turkeys and sometimes it means surgical gloves blown up and decorated like turkeys…but it’s always just a turkey target. Like many other Americans we buy our turkey at the market.

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Both kids had definite kills!

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Our paper turkeys tasted delicious! Haha!

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!!! ‚̧ԳŹ

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! ūüôā

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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.

Horses, Swim, Performances and Playdates Oh My!

 This week actually felt fairly relaxed,

but we had plenty of adventures to keep us busy!

Trips to the museum and another chance to adore the horses!

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Practicing her “walking dismount” during a vaulting lesson.

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My fish love to swim, but their current lessons are driving me crazy! My kids WORK their teachers and get away with insanely basic level skills!

Like floating! Come on, you’re killing me here!

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And for the first few lessons they let my cannon ball jumper sit on the edge and flop in because she seemed “scared” ugh….she jumps in ALL THE TIME during free swim!

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Luckily my son switched classes and has a real teacher who is pushing him to perfect his strokes and teaching him the butterfly stroke!

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My son’s Cub Scout leader demonstrated “healthy eating” and made a smoothie with his bike. Of course an auditorium full of boys couldn’t stop making he’s pooping the smoothie jokes! So when it came to tasting it….there were too many eewwww gross, you’re drinking his poop! Jokes! Boys and their bodily function humor! Do they ever out grow it?

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We attended a fun play that sparked a reading fest in the house!

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We also spent a lot of time going for walks and identifying plants. I had no idea how many edible plants are right in our own back yard! Nature exploring to me is one of the best parts of homeschooling!

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And it’s always more fun when dad can join us!

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And of course lots of Playdates….a homeschooling family must prove to the overly concerned world that we are socialized!

(Do you detect sarcasm here?) ūüėú

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Fun Adventures with My Kiddos

This past weekend was full of travels and adventures. We had a whirl wind trip to southern California.

Day One we explored the Los Angeles Science Center. There are plenty of exciting exhibits as you can see in the photos like:

Wind tunnels that blow hurricane level winds all over the kids.

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which of course he must make it to the top to ring the bell and light the lights up…

then get his congratulatory slam down hug from his sis!

imageThere were “crystal¬†balls”¬†which magically make your brother do ridiculous things!

imageWind poppers that are irresistible to my drum player!

imageThermal Imaging is always fun…

…and of course¬†MY kids were hoping they could create gas that showed up on the screen!

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The science center also has a fantastic aquarium/touch pools.

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There were ICE (real deal COLD) walls

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Quickly my son discovered punching ice, isn’t quite the same as punching snow!

(ouch!)

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lots of opportunities to push, pull, feel, examine, etc…

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and last but not least…the Endeavor Space Shuttle has a home at the science center.

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My kids were thrilled to touch wheels that have ACTUALLY BEEN IN SPACE!

“mom seriously these wheels have been in outer space! touch them mom, they were really in outer space!”

Day Two we met up with some friends and conquered LEGOLAND!

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Day Three we¬†celebrated¬†with my childhood friend and her daughter at her daughter’s “Fancy Tea” themed birthday party.

I can remember as kids thinking when we grow up our kids will play with each other and we will all live happily ever after! ‚̧

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Well it’s true minus a billion miles between us…amazingly our daughters are really close¬†regardless!

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I was cracking up watching these girls attempt delicate moves! One little girl had a tea-cup airborne giving the host a heart attack,

another nearly ripped her dress trying to break dance and my own¬†sweet¬†daughter ended up ripping off one of the roses on her dress…

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Graceful they were not, but beautiful and happy they were!…these girls loved being fancy for a day!

¬†It’s great when homeschooling gives you the freedom to learn on the go and share such fun memories with close family and friends!

Our Week

Everyday we find time to laugh and on this day, we couldn’t stop laughing.¬†My daughter was a crazy girl with the hose! She ended up bathing not only this horse but the three surrounding horses and all human beings in the vicinity! I think she might have a future career as a fire fighter!¬†NO ONE was safe! We were all drenched!

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Horse care is a big part of her responsibilities! And she LOVES it!

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First Lego League http://www.firstlegoleague.org is a great group to become involved with. The kids learn so much more than Lego robotics. They learn valuable social skills, how to be part of a team and how to support not only your own team but the teams you are competing with.

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While at the park we stumbled upon a woman who was spinning yarn and her daughter was knitting. Both of these wonderful people shared their talent and craft with our children.

Another crafty person was making balloon creations for a donation. I did not have ANY cash on me, so my children were upset they couldn’t have a balloon. However, they didn’t waste a second sulking, instead they started to problem solve! Before you knew I they had found several coins on the ground at the park and made that donation and got their balloons! I was so impressed with this balloon artists creations, I had to share! Aren’t those swans too cute!

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More fun with friends…

image Climbing the baseball stop is always exciting!

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During tea time, the girls found these “eggs” on this plant. If you happen to know what kind of eggs they are, feel free to comment!

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Chess Club is another exciting adventure in our lives!

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After Chess Club our host family had a lovely¬†fire and supplied the kids with good old fashion s’mores!

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This week our daughter¬†tried her hand at the trumpet. She is very excited about this possibility, but I can’t tell if she’s excited about playing the trumpet or the homework of blasting her notes to wake up her brother in the morning?

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All little girls need a “friends forever” necklace to share with a good friend. Sadly this particular friend is moving away this summer. Thank heavens for technology, they can still keep in touch.

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More re fun with friends.

A great game of “dead man” on the trampoline…an all time favorite!

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An interesting thought on homeschooling…

…We were at an appointment this morning and the doctor asked if we were finished with school. He seemed half shocked and half concerned. I said we have already accomplished our math and language studies, why? Turns out he was a little shocked it can be conquered so quickly compared to traditional school.

This got me thinking about our days…

I’m not sure if the Spanish Vocab CD we were listening to in the car counts as our foreign language, or if our discussion and research on ancient Egypt counts towards history or if the ancient Egyptian picture my son drew counts as art, or if the books my kids read during their free time count as language…because those are just every day occurrences. My kids don’t count those activities as SCHOOL. They only consider WORKSHEETS and WORKBOOKS to be school…

…and they hate school!

But they LOVE TO LEARN!

We’re we finished for the day? Are we ever finished for the day? I don’t think¬†we ever stop learning! Our entire lives are educational. We were finished with our worksheets for the day! ¬†Yes! ¬†TGIF! But we are never finished learning, it’s a homeschoolers life to love to learn! ‚̧ԳŹ

Mellow Week

Well I started my blog post on Thursday and forgot to finish it….wonder if I will ever get into the groove of weekly blogging? I hope so! I used to have negative thoughts about blogs, but over the years they have been helpful in many cases. This means I have to conquer a sub-conscience negative feeling toward the process and a weekly goal. I must accept the fact I’m a blogger now! Haha!

This week has been filled with lots of love, snuggles and cuddles! Mostly a mellow week.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day a smidgen early with some homeschooling friends.

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The kids decorated cupcakes and ate way more sugar then they should have, but the mamas saved the kids from licking the frosting beaters….shhhhh it was Delicious!

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And I found lovely notes and chocolates around the house from a secret admirer. (Who happens to need admirer as a spelling word) haha!

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It was a quiet week over all, with a lot of sofa school (which translates to mama Lou reading educational books to the kids and discussing our new-found information.

My son, has been earning all his states on the app “Stack the States” during his free computer time. He loves that game and has learned so much about the various United States thru play. ¬†Next up “Stack the Countries”

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Another fun way we’ve been learning this week is thru the tv show “Horrible Histories.”

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I love when education just happens in a fun and entertaining way! So much more fun then our boring old academic worksheets.

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However a “marshmallow test” is a good incentive to finish your worksheets! (Look close there is a marshmallow taunting him)

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We found a bush that was full of berries. I remember as a child being told to not eat the berries because they are poisonous; yet, a friend of mine thought they might be a berry you can make some sort of edible something with…

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….so this week we have been searching thru various herb and plant books to try to discover what plant it is, and whether or not it is poisonous or useful and in many case it could be both.

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We are having trouble identifying it as there are many plants with similar berries and leaves. We snapped off a bit of it today and will be taking it to the nursery for help with identification.

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We also had fun with friends, making artwork, getting beauty treatments, building Legos, playing with transformers, over all making a giant mess of the playhouse.

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Last but not least! Drum is always a lesson we are excited to go to and practice for!

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