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!

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!

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?) 😜

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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!

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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Friday 1/30 – Thursday 2/5

My new goal is to show a better idea of how our weeks go for those new to homeschooling. I remember how difficult it was to wrap my head around the idea of homeschooling, because I never knew if I would be doing it right. Nearly five years later I can assure you, there is NO RIGHT WAY, in fact over the years we’ve mixed and mingled many styles and philosophies. The bottom line is: if your children are learning, your family is successfully homeschooling.

So this past week we had a few fun adventures outside of our typical academics.

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The kids were enrolled in a Home schoolers Bike Safety Course. The organization that set it up, was fantastic. They had laid out an entire course of faux streets, stop signs, lanes, pedestrians, sidewalks, texting drivers, bushes where random things came darting out towards them, even had car doors that flung open as they tried to pass. I was particularly impressed when they had ten kids on bikes riding in a figures 8 sorting out the intersection issues on their own! Kids are really capable when given the power!

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We also attended a homeschool PE class. (Always cracks me up when people think homeschool kids don’t socialize…still makes me giggle a bit when someone asks me if I am concerned about socialization.)

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This weeks class was dodge ball, which was an all times favorite of mine! After the hour-long class, a majority of us stayed and the kids played for another hour or so. All ages, sizes and genders happily engaging and having fun together!

We hiked up to a painted “cave” (although I’d call it more of a “wall” myself)

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We learned about the Native Americans and the theories on what the paintings mean. I personally thought the picture the experts debate being a bird or a turtle I thought was more of a round circle with nothing more to it, could be a dinner plate, the sun or moon, etc..regardless it was interesting and fun to see.

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We we spent some times at the tide pools. We found some pretty cool creatures, shells and rocks. best part was we had our very own archeologist guide with us to share her knowledge both at the cave/wall and the tide pools!

The weather was BIZARRE…at one point we were freezing and wearing giant ski coats, the next moment we were baking hot and seeking shade!

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My son who at times likes to “be tough and manly” decided today was an ok day to let down the guard and spend some time wool felting a blanket and sewing a pillow for his favorite stuffed animal. Winters can be so cold and we wouldn’t want his stuffies to freeze!

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And last but not least, “Fiesty” (the only hen in the eight eggs we hatched out a while ago) started laying eggs…you can see her “practice egg” below next to an average sized egg. Isn’t that the cutest little yoke you’ve ever seen?! ❤️

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Of of course our week also included academics, horse riding lessons, drum lessons, Spanish lessons, lunch with grandpa, play dates, swimming at the gym pool, etc…

See ya next week…

(please excuse any autocorrection I’ve missed…autocorrect might be the death of me one day!)

Homeschool Mornings

Well we pulled out of traditional school four years ago and have been homeschooling since. I’m still amazed at how peaceful homeschool mornings are compared to the chaos we used to call “normal” back in our traditional school days.

On this particular morning, my son really wanted to start his lessons before anyone else was up, dressed, fed and ready for the day.

As I sip my morning tea (side note: my husband is awesome and brings me a cup of tea in bed every morning! Thanks honey!) my son brought his “explode the code” work book, the teacher’s guide and his pencil to my bedside. Who am I to stop educational pursuit! Haha!

There I was sipping my tea and giving language lessons from bed as he happily did his work.

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When his sister woke up, she thought life needs to be fair; therefore, she wanted her explode the code lessons on mama’s bed too!

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We knocked out language lessons in our jim jams on mama’s bed in such a loving and peaceful way, with none of the rush we felt on traditional school days.

Chilling with my kiddos, sipping tea, answering the occasional question, etc. Eventually, we did get up, but when we were good-n-ready.

Four years later and it still impresses me! And I wonder how and why parents still run around in that crazy rush hour morning mess, when life can be so peaceful…