Beetle Bailey Wins the War on Math Today

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While doing some boring old math drill practice…I notice the comic strip section of the paper has caught my son’s eye…guessing I will need to record more reading then math for this hour! Haha!

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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.

The Adventures of Leaf Man!

I can’t take all the credit, a fellow homeschooling mama friend of mine gave me this great idea and my kids have had so much fun with it! We have created soooo many autumn decorations I’ve lost count! This is a fun adventure to help get the kids out into nature. (Even for those of you that might live in the cement jungle)

We first read a few fall books about seasons, changing leaves, etc…then ended with this fantastic book titled LEAF MAN.

Afterwards my kids and I went outside and searched for various leaves. Amazing how many shapes are out there in plain view that are passed by daily and never noticed! We collected a TON. The kids had so much fun they continued to collect more and more well after we had plenty! All sorts of colors and shapes and sizes!

We only had a short time frame to create, so the kids got busy quickly!

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Later in the evening after our busy day with friends, they went directly back to the table and started creating leaf creations again. We had leaf men, leaf fish, leaf birds, etc…

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First thing this morning they are once again at the table creating more leaf creations. They are loving this project! I highly recommend this activity! (Even for adults! I have to admit I’ve had fun with it too!)

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So get outside and start creating with nature! 🙂

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

Written by Maryrose Wood

Here are some links to find Maryrose Wood’s books on amazon.

Link for book one: http://amzn.com/B0037B6QVQ
Link for book two: http://amzn.com/B0045U9WLO
Link for book three: http://amzn.com/B005LC0S3Q
Link for book four: http://amzn.com/B0098S32EG

I get nothing from this shout out, but it is one of those things homeschooling mamas have to share regardless! 🙂

These books are fabulous! My kids LOVE them and are very excited to find out a fourth book is coming out in December!

We have recently listened to the audio version because to be honest my British accent is horrible! I highly suggest the audio versions! The character voices are super!

The author’s blog http://maryrosewood.com has additional games and “incorrigible extras” along with more info about her books!

If you are looking for an excellent story book all ages (adults included) will enjoy with various lessons and tid bits of proper etiquette tossed in here and there in a fun way, this is a fantastic series IMHO!

Reading Tree Motivation

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I wasn’t planning on starting the reading tree until we started our official new year, but the kids had different ideas and so we already have a few new leaves up and I’m pleasantly surprised at my daughters reading level…might ditch the BOB books as she appears to be farther along.

Listening to my son read skippyjon jones with a Spanish accent made me realize he might get the Spanish language better than French…but lucky for him he’s stuck learning both haha!

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It is such a treat to take a break from laundry, house chores and other misc not as important tasks to sit down and listen to a story read out loud by your child. Hearing their voices tackle challenging words, see the pride when they conquer that word, hug them and encourage them when they are frustrated. It is so special to get to be a part of the process. I love it!

Our Reading Tree

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We have this years reading tree up and ready to go. This year we are using a paper tree from amazon. We are hoping my very talented sister will one day paint a beautiful tree with a child swinging in a swing sweeping over the wall. But for now the paper tree is perfect. 🙂

This particular tree comes with leaves, acorns and animals. We have decided to designate the acorns for level readers the kids read out loud to me, leaves for books the kids read on their own and animals to chapter books we read as a family together. (At least that is the plan as of today) 🙂

We are looking forward to seeing how full our tree gets over this next year. I hope to blog about our full reading tree next summer around this time.

Back to mental planning and getting things ready for our next year ahead. 🙂

Tuesday – Day Two

Today started off typical, I was up early and got my mama me time before the little folks were up for the day.

After a while, my daughter surfaced…she contently looked thru a bag of rocks and minerals for a long time.

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After a while my son joined us and they made themselves some breakfast.

While preparing their breakfast I over hear my son telling his sister, that when we go on vacation they will get spending money and if they save it they can buy all the junk cereal they want…my daughter replies something on the lines of; no, we only get two per year! My son replies: Yeah, that’s the deal with mom’s money, not our money! (he’s getting clever now!) 🙂

SIDE NOTE: We have a family deal, twice a year (Christmas and Birthdays) they get their choice of a box of crap cereal, you know the kind, typically have a toy in the bottom of the box and turns your poop bright turquoise blue green color! And when they get their box of cereal, they will opt for cereal breakfast, lunch and dinner until it’s gone.

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Breakfast around here is make it yourself if mom hasn’t gotten to it by the time you are hungry. Be grateful when someone serves you, but be willing to do things for yourself if you can and need to. I’d say a couple days a week they make their own breakfast and majority of the time I make it.

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After breakfast:

Son: And NOW I’m actually going to do school!
Daughter: Really?!?!
Son: Yes, I’m really going to read this book and learn something new!

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How could I interrupt that with my plans to make those darn crackers???

While reading a basher book on weather:
Son: Mom, do you remember mine craft on the ipad?
Mom: yes.
Son: Do you think I could get to outer space on mine craft? Because in creative mode you can fly and if you go above the clouds, there is a bluish orb like place. Do you think if you puncture thru the bottom of that orb you would reach the outer atmosphere? Or like the other side of the atmosphere? I really want to know what is on the other side!

Son: mom, look (showing me his book) these are the extreme weather conditions, except you really can’t have a draught and flood at the same time. Wanna know something sis – you can’t have a tornado without a thunder cloud. There is a difference between a tornado and hurricane. A hurricane does not lower itself from a thunderstorm cloud. Hurricanes come from the sea and tornados come from the sky.

He continues on, but I need to get this cracker deal going…so I stroll off to the kitchen while he has his sister’s ear now.

He comes into the kitchen to find me, apparently, he has been checking out his basher book on elements now and has stumbled across an element he can’t pronounce…and truth be known neither can mom! We have our talking dictionary give us a leg up on this one!

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Son: finally found what I was looking for! Neodymium
Mom: why?
Son: I’m kind of interested in it, that’s why

CRACKER TIME…I had to just get it over with…stuff was sitting there waiting, staring me in the face…so here we go, we are making saltine crackers from scratch! (And yes it involved washing the table cloth ha ha!)

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Daughter: can I push on it? Because then I can feel the squish substance called dough, isn’t that funny mom, and anyways it’s quicker than rolling it.

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While I put the table cloth and a load of reds in the wash, my daughter started to read a book about horses.

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a bit later, my son decided he was going to teach his little sis how to tell time by reading a baby basher book on TIME to her. I’ve mentioned before both my children enjoy being the teacher…not so much the student role model, but teacher position they thrive! Ha ha!

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Outside time! Some days I have to kick these little kiddos OUTSIDE! Today was one of those days, out out out, go get your wiggly beans OUT!

Wardrobe Change #2 – She is in one of her fancy gowns, jumping on the trampoline and announces that she thinks this dress should not be a dress but rather dress up clothes from now on. She has serious individual ideas on what is what when it comes to clothes and shoes! She has stated many times she wants to design her own clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc… From the first (and last) power struggle over shoes when she was 9 months old, I decided clothes really aren’t worth it, as long as they are content in their skin, and happy with their choices, I do not intervene when it comes to their fashion preferrences. They are free to express themselves fully. I do however, get to choose Christmas dinner and Easter Brunch outfits for both kiddos.

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Wardrobe Change #3 – Pondering life while swinging on the swings.

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Pondering life while hanging in his self made tree hammock…yes, my rug is still in the tree!

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Story time with narration and discussion afterwards

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Reading about rocks and minerals…we also made a trip today to the rock and mineral shop in town.

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Son: A hypothesis about Stonehenge is it was used to be a UFO landing site and the Easter Island rock heads are known to also be associated with aliens. And I think aliens would be awesome!
Daughter: No, people believe Stonehenge is a place where people saw the sunrise and set.
Son: Some people think Stonehenge was built as a giant calendar because the sun rises and sets in certain positions during the solstices, but I like the alien theory better.

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My Daughter making orange juice with one orange that is still not ready, but she was, so it was plucked, cut and squeezed…she’d like to sell you a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice for 50 cents at her “lemonade stand” ha ha!

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A little more piano practice

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My son is trying to build an upside down telescope.

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Which leads him to you tube for directions, but he is quickly side tracked by anti gravity toys…which leads to magnet play. Which is related to his morning interest of Neodymium…right?! I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Neodymium is used to make really powerful magnets.

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My daughter likes that the figurine bin was taken out and quickly has her own saving story going on. A goat has falling off a cliff and all the other animals are trying to save him from falling to the ground…she plays this story out in many ways and has a great time talking for each animals and is very serious with different voices for different characters.

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all animals made it safe and sound to their farm land…and no the lion is not going to eat the pig. ha ha!

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Dad’s Home….dinner time and all that jazz…

During dinner:

Son: I have a hypothesis, that cloth gets wet when you dump water on it because the water molecules latch on to the cloth molecules.
Dad: And then they use capillary action to propagate through the material.
Daughter: So if I dump a bucket of water here, the whole table cloth gets wet?
Dad: Yup, you got it.
Mom: Sooooo capillary action to propagate??? Would that be spreads out for the rest of us??? Ha ha!

Daughter: Well I have a hypothesis too about bubbles – it is I think bubbles are little air things filled with liquid.
Dad: you are close, but it’s the opposite.
Daughter: its air trapped in liquid? Hmmm…
Mom: come on kids, clear your dishes and get ready for story time in my room.

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They are now in their own beds listening to an audio book. I’m posting this, and then heading for bed myself. My editor (I mean better at spelling friend) will tell me tomorrow of any major glitches in my verbal spewing, ha ha! I’m too tired tonight!