Tis The Season To Be Busy…Fa La La La La La La

I haven’t been keeping up on my blog, because life just has a way of speeding by during this time of the year. We arrived home from our vacation and came home to boom boom boom a long list of events…We start off with Harvest, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving (and Thanksgivukkah this year for our Jewish friends) and POOF Christmas is right around the corner.

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On this particularly busy day, it was a super crazy day. I was going all day and exhausted. The kids were off playing and I saw a window for myself to just have a calm quiet cup of tea. I made myself a cup of tea, got a book, a couple extra cushions for the patio chair, settled myself down. Look over and see this! Seriously! Really? You gotta be kidding me! Ever have days like this!?! Well you aren’t alone! 😉

Here is a photo blog of what has been keeping us so busy and hopefully that will release me of my poor blogging skills guilt! (there’s always hope right!?!? ha ha!) It should make the family happy to have current photos of the kiddos doing what they do. 🙂

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Harvest Time – We generally spend a little time in the vineyard picking grapes with the crews. They often will save us a small plot to pick, because to be honest the crews are MUCH MORE efficient then we are. They can clear three or four rows in the same time we pick our small patch. But it is still fun to be a part of the harvest, eat a few grapes, dodge a few bees, learn hands on what a harvest really is about.

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Horse riding lessons – Each week the kids have horse riding lessons with an amazing trainer. Each week they alternate between English, Western & Vaulting lessons. Their balance and spatial awareness is growing leaps and bounds! In this photo the horse is walking. She is learning various vaulting skills at walk and trot.

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Science Experiments – This was a science kit explaining quick sand. After this experiment I found a better recipe online and we created a larger bowl of “quick sand” that occupied the kids for days and sadly killed many small plastic animals. (no worries though, all were saved by the dishwasher!)

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Pumpkin Patch Farm With Homeschooling Friends – we spent about 6 hours at this farm enjoying every aspect of it. Seeing the fields on a tractor hay ride, running thru hay mazes, feeding the farm animals, shopping their fresh product, eating yummy treats in their restaurant. It was a great day and the kids (mama too!) were tuckered out afterwards!

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And of course we carved pumpkins…Jack O’lanterns are always so much fun!

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More BIG NEWS – “Mom Dad, come see” – sooo we head outside and there she is, riding her brothers bike without training wheels. Apparently big brother helped her learn how to ride his bike. We were able to see the first steps as he ran behind her on his bike, hilariously cute! So dad took the trainers off HER bike and she “relearned” on her bike…she is very proud of her new-found skills!

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And of course “SCHOOL TIME” – both kiddos enjoy desk work (believe it or not!) I have my theories on why my kids think school work is fun…pretty much has to do with the fact it’s THEIR CHOICE.

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“SURFING” on Grandpa’s back – I remember doing these things with my dad as a child and it’s fun to see my kids enjoying the same adventures. He would throw us up in the air, across the pool, we’d swim on his back and pretend he was a dolphin, Surf across the pool on his back. And it appears he still has the touch!

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Homeschool Park Day – Halloween party for the homeschoolers. Some people believe homeschoolers are unsocialized and they never get to play with their peers. I will tell you during this fun adventure I heard a lot of the kids using their words to say things like “please pass the stickers” or “thank you” I didn’t see any pushing, shoving or grabbing going on. I’d say they were very well-mannered and displayed great social skills.

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Trick or Treat – Halloween is always fun! This year we celebrated with some friends. The kids ran from door to door and then afterwards enjoyed a good old fashion candy swap. I think all the kids felt they came out ahead!

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School Math the next day included Candy sorting, charting, adding and the kids favorite SUBTRACTING (aka eating!)

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Homeschool Park Day – Each week we get together with homeschool friends for park day and it is always so fun to see the older kids helping the younger kids and all the kids having fun together just being kids! I love it! So much joy!

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We made a little road trip to see JACK HANNA in action! he brought a bunch of wild animals to share with us and teach us some interesting facts about animals and various areas in the world.

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Our reading tree is SLOWLY filling. We actually have read way more books, but we unfortunately keep forgetting to add them to the tree. Each item is for a different reading situation, the animals are for chapter books, acorns for readers, leaves for story books, etc…

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Rain Gutter Regatta – This is a cub scouts event. The boys build sail boats and then using their breath power they blow the boat in a race down rain gutters. Its great fun and the kids all design great vessels!

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More School Time – they love their desks and it cracks me up every time they happily work away at their desks asking for more work.

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Another opportunity to do some math, geography, foreign language and character work – each year about this time, Samaritan’s Purse puts on the OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD program http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ and each year I give the kids a budget and a list of approved items. I take them shopping and they can choose what they want to go into their shoe box. They need to stay within budget. They need to scout out items that are on the list and fit in their box. They deliver the boxes to a local church and see all the work people put into making Christmas special for others. They learn about giving. We purchase tracking codes so we can track what country our boxes go to and learn more about that area. And they HOPE a child will return a letter one day. This year we wrote our letter in a couple of languages hoping someone would translate for the receiver. We shall see.

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We read a bunch of books on nature and animal tracks. One of the books suggested looking for an OWL during the day. So we headed out in search of tracks, owls and owl pellets. (which is owl puke, some people think it’s poop. The owl eats a WHOLE mouse and then the fur and bones bundle up together during digestion and the owl pukes it out)

We did find lots of tracks, bobcats, deer, pigs, coyotes, birds, and our dogs! ha ha! At the base of several trees we searched for owl pellets. We looked at the tippy tops of many trees. No owls and no owl pellets. But lucky for us, Amazon.com sells owl pellet kits and has two-day shipping! ha ha!

The kits are great, because they come with little bone charts and the kids can pretend they are paleontologists, digging around for bones and then placing them back together to see if they have a whole animal!

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When it was all over the kids drew pictures and wrote about it in their nature journals.

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On occasion we get to do school with our homeschooling friends.

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and we also get to do pizza parties and arcade games with our homeschooling friends.

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We have a few family traditions that make our Thanksgiving one of our favorite holidays! For starters we eat venison instead of turkey. 1) we’re pretty sure they had venison at the first thanksgiving meal. and 2) no one in our family likes turkey, so who wants to spend all day cooking a big old bird no one will eat. We have a TURKEY SHOOT, which is great fun! The kids blow up surgical gloves and we decorate them to look like turkeys. Take them down to the shooting range and take turns shooting the turkeys. (We use both rifles and bows) And last but certainly not least, we have a pumpkin toss. And all of those pumpkins we collected are tossed down the canyon. We see who can throw the farthest, highest, funniest, etc… Then we hike down the canyon and smash the pumpkins open, getting any aggression out on the poor little pumpkins! ha ha! But this opens them up so nature can take its course and the pumpkins do their part in the cycle of life.

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And then comes the food coma! I couldnt eat another bite!

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We also have piano recitals that keep us moving and grooving!

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Before you know it, it is Christmas tradition time! Poof, three months has flown by! This year for the first time, the kid’s gingerbread houses don’t look like a candy/frosting factory puked on them. This is the first year they both decided to follow some suggested ideas in the directions! I was both impressed and sad to be honest. I was impressed with how well their houses came out (one is in the background, but you can still see it, lovely icicles!) But I was sad to know their childish glops of frosting and uneven gum drops were days of the past now. It has spurred a field trip. We are going to go check out a bakery that makes professional gingerbread houses and see how they do their amazing decorating tricks.

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And with Christmas comes the shelf elves! Meet Sir SugarSocks MacMistletoe and his lady elf friend. They get into mischief in our house on occasion, but for the most part they are decent elves that simply report to Santa how the kids are doing throughout the season!

Please forgive my lack of blogging lately, but as you can see we have been keeping busy with events, friends, family and school.

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Wednesday – Day Three

Today was a little trickier to document because we were out and about all day here and there and everywhere, busy. Which means we are relying on my mama mind to recall our day…ha ha! (Have I mentioned in the past I’m fairly certain my memory was delivered along with my children…they might of called it a placenta, but I’m certain it was the memory section of my brain!

First thing this morning I had a SMIDGEN of mama time before my son woke up and we had to get ready to leave. I had to unfortunately urge my daughter out of bed and rush her along a bit.

While in the car (an hour drive today) My daughter was reading her insect fact book. She loves these types of books on insects, mammals, sea life, and all living creatures! She announces: I can’t believe there is a MOTH that is pink, yellow and blue…it is so beautiful and it is a MOTH! Can you believe there is a beautiful moth mom?!?! My son leans over and reads the info…he tells her, yup, it’s called a Rosy Maple Moth…

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Joke told by my kids: Do you know the difference between a preying mantis and a praying mantis? One has a bug between it’s hands. (not really sure if that is how the joke goes, but that is how they said it and they laughed!) Ha ha!

After that I listened to the music and they researched spiders. I did have to keep reminding them to look up to avoid getting car sick…sometimes reading in the car will turn them green.

A bit later I notice my son has packed the magnet toy in our car, so he’s still processing magnets and having fun with it. (I wasn’t overjoyed when the magnets fought each other and shot all over the market’s floor, but such is life when you are learning I suppose…he now understands why it’s best to leave your toys in the car)

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Directly entering Costco there are a plethora of TV’s, today was an interesting show about underwater life. Tomorrow we are supposed to research that show to see if we can get it and watch it in full. I’d happily do that over researching a cartoon we discover at the entrance of Costco.

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After our errands are complete, we meet up with some friends and play at the park, then head down to the beach. It wasn’t really beach weather, but most of our kids still enjoy it.

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I love how each kid stands so nicely in line waiting their turn. No one is cutting or complaining. It is just a peaceful cooperative queue of unsocialized homeschool kids. (Oh gees, there goes that sarcasm again, ha ha!)

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Every time we get together with other homeschoolers, I giggle to myself at how silly the whole “socialization” concern is. These kids are so well socialized. The way they work out differences and handle situations is generally very impressive.

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It is always a sensory experience to have your entire body buried under sand! And such a physical job for my daughter’s friend who was covering her up! (We can check on P.E. off for my daughter’s friend!) Ha ha!

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Not sure what they are doing, but looks fun!

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Looks like the kids have decided to play duck duck goose…

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The mamas were enjoying a relaxing adult chat while the kids were running around.

While my son was enjoying a pizza party with his super brains club (three of the kids, my son included, were graduating today) I took my daughter shopping for what she loves…jewelry!

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A little boy was selling confetti eggs (6 for a dollar) on the sidewalk, so we bought some confetti eggs and the kids had fun smashing eggs on each other’s heads!

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Well some liked doing the smashing more so then getting smashed on…ha ha!

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This would be a loving tackle, she comes off as a delicate little flower, but that is her trick…watch out, when you are least expecting it, she will get you!

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After the beach and confetti eggs, it was BATH TIME! Which always ends up becoming some sort of water explosion, I mean experiment! (I have been known to line the floor with towels, because it doesn’t matter how often you mention keep the water IN the tub to the children, that darn water still seems to leak out of the tub and all over the floor, sometimes the walls and on a rare occasion the water makes it’s way up to the ceiling!

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Deal Making time: My son wants to watch a BEN 10…the job is CLEAN YOUR ROOM…trust me it’s a big job tonight!

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We sneak in a little LIFE OF FRED MATH (my son’s choice!) He is asked to build a house with right angles and he enjoys himself so much, he decides to build a basement and a basement vent and of course he has to leave the roof off because a roof isn’t made of right angels…he takes his assignments very seriously!

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…and a little practice with nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc thru MAD LIBS (love those!)

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My daughter does some piano practice. I don’t force practice on them, but neither of them like the rush of having to complete it all last-minute, so they generally do a little here and there each day. (as you can see in the background my son is practicing head stands in the chair! Ha ha!)

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never a dull moment…kids are tucked in and it is my bedtime…goodnight 🙂