Sunday, August 7, 2011

Homeschooling Vacation

Posting these days are few and far between.  Our little baby girl thrives on little sleep which means little time for using the computer.  We recently returned from our short little vacation on the California Coast.  Daddy's co-worker/friend has a wonderful home with an ocean view and we are so thankful to be able to use it.  The kids had an awesome time and its amazing how many critters they found while on the beach and in the backyard of the beach house.  Our oldest managed to find garter snakes on the beach!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Shrinky Dink Charm Bracelets

Its been a long time since I've posted.  Baby doesn't sleep as well as I'd like so getting to the computer is impossible.  Big Sissa had a play date with one of her friends and they made charms out of Shrinky Dinks to add to their bracelets.  They turned out really cute and had a glass bead look.

I ordered these from Rainbow Resource.  You can probably get them at Michaels or Enasco...

We used one sheet of Shrinky Dink paper cut into six squares.  The girls made their designs with Crayola colored pencils and cut them out.  A hole punch was used to make the opening for the string before placing them into the oven.  Make sure that your hole is not to close to the edge like the bumble bee...that one broke. 

Clear beads from Michaels were used and a clear nylon string.  Those little boxes of beads last forever.

Very cute!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer is Finally Here

After on and off stormy Memorial Day weather, the sun has finally returned.  Our garden is on its way and the kids and I are so excited to see what grows this year (just because its planted, doesn't mean anything).

Ten different tomato plants...

Sugar snap peas growing on the fence...

Squash and zucchini...

One of my 5 hydrangea plants...Love them!  This one is the Lady in Red.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

US Geography and The Constitution

One of the benefits of homeschooling is the ability to change gears and focus on different topics at a moment's notice.  This spring I planned to focus on geography and map work with a sprinkling of historical events in our country.  One day I thought, "Why not teach the states in the order they were adopted along with the amendments in chronological order?"  This was in addition to my older son memorizing the preamble and an overview of the history of the Constitution and Bill of Rights .  I already had this great USA Sticker Book for the kids: and decided to use it along with a box of flash cards with the states, the order they were adopted, interesting facts, etc. that I picked up at Lakeshore Learning.  I also used the website: for the amendments and preamble.  This also allowed the kids to see photos of the original documents. 

So far we have covered 5 states and 5 amendments.  The kids and I have really enjoyed studying this important part of US History.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Solar Powered Fun

I love science kits.  It takes away the brain power of planning and shopping for expeiments.  I ordered this one through Home Science Tools, a great web resource for science supplies.

Our first experiment was conducting an experiment to test the "greenhouse" effect.

It was hot outside and perfect to begin a last minute study on solar energy.

Instead of using paper to record our results, we used chalk and the patio.

This next experiement was from the same kit showing how to use the sun to boil water.

Here it is here...After about 30 minutes in 80 degree weather, the water in the test tube boiled and overflowed.  Today's experiment, cooking eggs outside.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Tradition??

Easter.  It means many different things to many people.  It is a time to celebrate Jesus' sacrifice for us, a time to spend time with family, a time for springtime activities like egg coloring and...the Easter Basket.  As a child that was not raised in a Christian home till later in my kid years, the Easter Basket along with what the Easter Bunny brought was just as fun as waiting for what Santa brought in my stocking.  Now that I am a Christian Parent, I struggle with how much the secular traditions should creep into how we celebrate Easter and Christmas. 

See those baskets above?  Love them like a Christmas Stocking.  I love spring colored baskets, love watching my kids hunt for eggs, love the way the match with their Easter clothes, love the candy inside them...Need I go on?  But is it a focus of the day?  No.  Our kids get meager things in their baskets.  The usual plastic eggs with candy, sometimes a chocolate cross from our local candy store, and books from the Christian book store.  Yes, books.  Books about Easter, chapter books, devotionals, card games.  Thankfully, grandma and grandpa are on board with this too.  The longer I have become a parent, the more I focus on Jesus and less I focus on commercialism.  Is there a balance?  Of course!  My kids learn the most important reason for Easter (Jesus) which really should be celebrated all year long and they can run around later looking for eggs over, and over, and over again.

Last,  I want to share one of my favorite Easter books.  A board book titled, My Easter Basket and The True Story of Easter by Mary Manz Simon.  She uses glittery pictures of items found in the basket and tied them to Jesus' life, death and resurrection.  There is a similar one about Christmas Trees too.  Simple and to the point.  Love it.

PS Check out last week's post with our Easter craft!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Cross Project

This week's school will consist of fun projects for my little people in reflection of Jesus' death on the cross. My oldest daughter went to a birthday party over the weekend and painted this painting of the cross which was a great way to start the week.

Some of the supplies I used are pictured here.  Yes, I buy crafts sticks by the box!  Why not, we make a log cabin, a cross, picture frames or popsicles at the drop of a hat.

First I hot glue gunned the craft sticks together.  Next the kids colored them with colored pencils.

I wrapped twine around the middle (not picutred here).

Next the kids made a crown from gold pipe cleaners.

Last they placed their crosses in the air dry clay and embellished as desired.

My oldest wanted three crosses so I pulled out the toothpicks last minute.

This weekend they will be our centerpieces for Easter Dinner.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring Gardening 2011

Its that time of year again.  After weeks of rain and cold weather, we finally had an opportunity today to plant our summer veggies.  The kids and I have been planning for a couple weeks as we collected our tomatoes from one nursery and ladybugs and compost from another.  Yes, I had to drive around to get ladybugs and compost because everyone was sold out!  So over the course of a couple days, we let the ladybugs go free to chomp on our aphid infested onions, then ripped them out since they were too damaged to save, and today started ammending our soil and planted our veggies!

Some of our favorites are: Green Grape Tomato, Green Zebra Tomato, Brandymaster, Caspian Pink, Isis Candy Tomato (YUM), Super Marzano (a Roma Substitute), Black Prince, Yellow Pear, and Purple Russian Tomatoes in addition to our regular assortment of squash, cucumbers, garlic and pumpkins.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Official Food, Inc. Movie Site - Hungry For Change?

Official Food, Inc. Movie Site - Hungry For Change?

(PS Those are from last year's garden)

This past week as my kids were down with fevers, some vomit, snot and coughing, I watched Food Inc. for the first time. Yes, I had time to watch a movie but over two nights holding miss fussy baby who likes to stay up till 2 a.m. I can't believe it took me so long to watch this film. My oldest son watched a few minutes with me (its school right), but once we got to the butchering segment, I had him leave the room. This movie can be a powerful teaching tool for the entire family (depending on the age of the kid).

Our family eats pretty healthy compared to mainstream America. We eat organic dairy, grains and most produce. When we eat fish, its wild salmon, not farmed. A couple years ago I only started buying grassfed beef. Yes, that can be expensive, but when you find items like this on sale, stock up. I do what I can to keep my family healthy and TEACH my children how God wants us to care for our bodies not only spiritually but nutritiously. We all know where scripture teaches us this but many gloss over it, even the church as they feed our children fish crackers laced with sodium. Sure once in a while we indulge in a burger from In and Out, but my kids know this is a treat and not something we should eat often. We have begun gardening the last couple summers and dabbled in a few winter veggies, but this is only the beginning of my plans. Before watching Food Inc., I was already getting "granola" in taking a sharp left turn down the path of eat what we grow, by local produce and meats, blah-blah-blah. My parents were teens in the 60's and although did not "live" the 60's my mother always, always, always, tried to feed us healthy when it wasn't trendy at the time and that was a 180 compared to how she was fed. In elementary school I used to get wierd looks from my peers when I packed my PBJ on whole grain bread, fruit and homemade cookie compared to their white bread sandwhich, chips and HO-HO...chased down by a Hi-C boxed drink.

For many homeschoolers, budget is always an important component in feeding a family. Many of my homeschooling friends and I are interested in feeding our children as healthy and organic as we can so gardening is becoming an important part of homeschooling. Ironically, as produce prices have increased at our local stores due to bad weather, destroying crops throughout the nation and world (yes we get our produce from around the world...sad but true), I have noticed the price of regular produce increase to the price of organic. Lately I have noticed more organic produce being sold at local farmer's markets. They are also selling meat, eggs and dairy for nearly the same cost as non-organic in stores and am thankful this supply and demand is moving in my favor. If you are trying to feed your family organic on a budget, please share how are you are doing so. Especially any online vendors that sell grains, etc. I am always curious.

Here will be a sample of my summer reading: The Maker's Diet and many of my gardening and nutrition links located on the bottom right of my blog. I pray that if you read my post, you'll watch Food Inc...its on instant play on Netflix if you subscribe. We are in a blessed position to homeschool and train up our children in faith, education, family values and nutrition. I'm ready to focus more on number 4, how about you?

I am done rambling for now...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Thrush, A Lesson In Yeast for All Ages

Looking back there were signs.  The IV antibiotics , the red baby bottom at birth, the fussy, gassy newborn who would cry all night and I was thinking it was the dairy issues that plagued her tummy.  All those signs were in the shadows of a jaundice baby under blue lights.  Even looking back to her one week photos, is a picture of her yawning with a white tounge (this one was taken at one month).  Looking at her tounge last week it dawned on me...YEAST!  I couldn't believe that my baby had yeast...Well actually I could.  The events of her labor and most likely my love of cookies and Pete's coffee set up this yeasty environment for my baby girl.  So now we are on a daily regimen of yougurt, probiotics and grapefruit seed extract in hopes to cure this bubbling nightmare before resorting to antifungal meds...just the thought of saying it grosses me out.
Now I am moving on to the next step in battling this growing problem...sugar.   We all love it and know its bad for us.  Back in the wagon days, sugar was a luxury and was reserved for holidays and company.  Today its in everything down to salad dressings, cereals...well everything.  This is coming from a mama who buys almost all organic dairy, meats, grains and produce.  Heck, my baking sugar is organic!  So friends, its going to be so long to sugar for a while.  My mochas will be replaced with green tea (which I love already) and night time treats will be replaced with yougurt or grapefruit. 
If I can survive without wheat, I can survive without sugar, right?  My family will be healthier without it  Keep reading to find out.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cherry Blossom Water Colors

Hello Friends,

I am very behind on blogging this month.  With baby number 5, I have lost track of time and even signed into the HHH on Wednesday last wonder I couldn't log in!  I hope you take the time to check out my last couple posts on organizing my curriculum mess and one on  Childhood of Famous Americans.

Here is our latest water color project, Cherry Blossom Water Colors.  These are some of my favorite trees and I remember doing a pastel of cherry blossoms when I was in 3rd grade.  Just this past week, we had a huge storm blow over us and I watched as my blossoms were blown from the trees and covered the grass like the snow.  We were supposed to get a rare sprinkling of snow, but the storm just headed up to the mountains.  Thankfully most of the blossoms are still there.  When we completed our fall paintings last fall, I decided to have the kids paint seasonally as we discuss and celebrate the changing seasons.  If you haven't done so, I hope you check out the fall and winter ones too!


Joy-Joy is supposed to be fishing the chocolate chips out of the raisins but finds great pleasure in yanking the clip out of her hair...

Kids working on thier horizon lines, grass and sky.

Adding the tree and giant roots!

Adding the blossoms and other details...