Saturday, October 25, 2014

Oh How I Love The Weekends!

Hello Sun!
I love the weekends for so many reasons but one main reason is that I love the ever so slight change of pace and scenery that it provides all of us.  I get up at the same time as I do during the week, I go on the same walk very early in the morning.  It's what happens, or I should say what doesn't happen when I get back from my standard early am walk that shifts just enough to make the day feel more relaxed and carefree.

I don't have to get busy making breakfasts and lunch for Ian.  I don't have to turn all of the lights on in the classroom and get it ready for the children.  I don't have to rush to shower and get dressed with enough time to allow Ian to do the same as I do during the work week.  I can hang around in my pjs (if I don't walk) or my workout clothes if I do and enjoy another cup of coffee, hang with Ari and whomever else happens to be awake and just let the morning unfold as it will.  Our children are not "organized sport" kids.  (selfishly we're COMPLETELY fine with this!!)  I listen to lots of other parents who are on the various fields for soccer, football, lacrosse, etc as early as 8 am on the weekends and as late as 9 on the weekdays for all of their children's various sport practices and games and I feel so grateful that I'm not a part of it!  Believe me, if my children wanted to play a sport I'd be more than happy to encourage them to do so.  I don't think that 8 am is acceptable on the weekend days - as that, to us, is sacred family time nor do I feel that anything past 7 pm on a weeknight is acceptable this is all strictly my opinion however and I am well aware that I am in the minority on this!  (climbing down off of my soapbox now! ;)

We move through the day completing errands, spending time outside and doing things that need to be done around the house.  Today Kendall happened to have sewing in the morning as she and I have our mother/daughter book club on Monday night when she usually has sewing.  This evening she has a costume birthday party for some homeschool friends of hers.  And Sunday we're heading to a local state park to take part in a mansion tour and then over to my in-laws house to celebrate my MIL's birthday!!  We're looking very forward to all of it!  Today I walked with Ari and Katie very early and then Kendall, Ari and I walked again in the early afternoon while Ian and Ty did yard work and went to the dump.  (fun boy stuff! lol!)  I honestly don't think I know where the dump is in my town and I've lived her for 17 years!  ha!!  To me, that's boy work!
shelling!
measuring!
I taught Tyler how to make and use a double boiler.  We had an experience last week as we were microwaving chocolate for our marshmallow aliens and despite our efforts to heat it in 30 second increments the chocolate still seized up.  I explained to Ty that even though the double boiler takes a little longer to work it melts the chocolate much more gently and evenly.  
perfect!
shelled, roasted and chopped!
the perks of being a chef!
ready for the toppings!!
ummmmmmm YUM!!!!
This morning, Tyler and I made one recipe of chocolate bark as part of our gift to Grandma Sue.  The recipe he chose consists of a white chocolate base and the toppings are roasted pistachio nuts, chopped, dried apricots and dried cranberries.  Later in the afternoon Kendall helped me make the second recipe which is a base of semi-sweet chocolate with toppings of dried cherries and orange zest.  These flavor profiles are right up Grandma's alley!!  She's going to love them and we can't wait to give them to her!  I promise to share a picture of the AMAZING creation that Kendall made for Grandma once we've given it to her.  I know that our family reads here and I don't want to spoil the surprise!
our protector!
walking, walking, walking!
our boys!!
the cooled, cut and finished product!  
Kendall learned how to use a microplane today!!!

cooled and cut!!  YUMMY!!!
I can't wait to give these treats to Grandma Sue!!  The kids had a great time cooking for her!

Until next time!

Friday!!!

Good Morning and Happy Friday Everyone!!

It was STILL raining here this morning (third day in a row!) so Ari and I were unable to go on our daily walk.  I LOVE the rain but cannot wait for it to be clear enough to be able to head outside again!

Today we have a more focused and schedule day planned which will be helpful to get everyone back on track after our day of fun yesterday!

After everyone's morning routines were completed we started with our journaling prompt - What do you love most about the Fall and why?
Bringing nature into our classroom!
These are absolutely the hardest words they've had so far and it's proving challenging.  We are still working on corrections and they still have another week until their test next Friday!  I know they'll be ready!
We moved onto our spelling words, dictionary copy work and then more writing for our research projects.
His handwriting is coming along SO nicely!!
Handwriting via dictionary copy work

Research paper writing time!
She's LOVING writing information about her subject!
Very rough outlines
For science we continued our discussions about the origin of life and more specifically focused our attention on Charles Darwin.  I had the children use "who was" worksheets to learn some basic facts about Darwin.
Perhaps I'm biased but her drawing is INCREDIBLE!!!
Ty likes to draw from memory whereas Kendall likes to have an image in front of her.  I absolutely marvel at how distinctly different and amazing their abilities are!
We continued our reading and discussions about the American flag and then I introduced them to my concept of "smart cards".  Smart cards are nothing more than laminated flash cards on a ring.  I've cut index cards down to 4"x 3".  I can fit two cards into a laminating pocket and zip it through the machine.  I then trim them down, punch a hole in the corner and voila!  (pictures to come once I have a bunch assembled)
The children are always asking how to spell certain words, we're often discussing math concepts, science theories, etc.  Every time they ask how to spell a word, I write it on a card.  I write the word on the blank side of the card and then I put the part of speech and it's definition on the lined side.  Once the card is laminated it will go on the ring so that the kids can use these as a quick reference for frequently misspelled words.  I've started doing this for math concepts and science theories.  I plan on creating divider cards out of colored cardstock to separate the sections within the ring.  I don't want to use a separate ring for each subject just yet.  If need be we can do that in the future but we'll start small for now.  The kids were very excited about our "Smartcards".  I'm happy to do anything to get them excited about learning!!

While we were reading about the American Flag, we started talking about the "rules" about how to care for, treat and properly handle the flag.  We read about the proper folding techniques for the flag and then I had them practice using a dish towel.  It was great fun and they folded the dish towel again and again!

We wrapped up our day at this point as we'd covered all I planned to that day.  Kendall used some of her birthday money to buy a clip on chair for her AG dolls and it came in the mail just as we finished up the day.  YAY!!  This chair is from Target's line of "Next Generation" dolls which is their version of American Girls.  I was a little suspect of the quality as I did not know what to expect having never purchased anything from this line in the past.  We've always purchased AG accessories as the quality is amazing - expensive for sure, but the quality is wonderful.  Well, let me tell you that the quality of the Target brand, at least on this item, is just as good as American Girl AND the chair only cost $19.99!!!  There's literally nothing at AG that costs $19.99!  HA!  Kendall does not care about the brand name, only that it functions as she likes which makes me oh so happy!!  Thumbs up here!!

She and Ty went to play at this point for a couple of hours and then they each had their respective afternoon activities - Kendall to Acro then later Ty to dance.
Drawing together before evening dance class!
Saige was placed to draw right along with them!
We have a busy and fun weekend planned!!  Hope you have a great one!  See you next week!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Just one of those days...

Hello friends!!

Oh my goodness what.a.day.!!  It's one of those days that I just want to cuddle up in my bed and snooze the day away.  Unfortunately I don't have that luxury!  =)  Our dog Katie woke up to go outside at 1 am and I was completely unable to fall back to sleep and then the baby woke at 4:40 am soooo needless to say I'm running a little on empty today.  Ian thankfully had a light day so he was able to work from home - which was INCREDIBLY helpful.

I had an appointment early this morning, the children had yoga and then we had what's becoming a weekly homeschool event which was a bit far away so I kept today's lessons on the very light side. Spelling and reading were what we accomplished IN the classroom today.  Meanwhile outside of the classroom:
On their way into yoga!  I adore that Kendall had her AG with her - complete with rainboots, yoga outfit and mat!  Ty had his bear with matching sweatshirt...they are just too cute =)
We were all so happy that Ian was home and able to come with us on our homeschool outing today to a rare herb and tree farm about an hour from us.  The event today was learning how to build pine cone gnomes.  I love the craft aspect of our gatherings with our homeschool friends but more importantly I love the connections we're all making.  The kids are slowly finding a few children to call friends and I'm making some new friends as well which is important for all of us in this journey. The garden center was amazing and filled with pets, farm animals, a tea room, gift shop, bamboo maze and a BEAUTIFUL loft space where we gathered to visit and make gnomes!  My dear friend and organizer of these events had an amazing eye for all things crafty, nature inspired and beautiful!!  She is an amazing homeschooling Mom filled with creativity and boundless energy!
Working on his gnome!
Beautiful, dyed wool
the table was filled with all manner of beautiful inspiring materials for our gnomes
all the kids LOVED the bamboo maze!!  It was very magical inside!
oink!
in heaven!
Ari had the best time exploring!!
focused and having fun!
a truly great crowd!!
Ty's finished gnome
Kendall, of course, made a Mom, Dad and Baby...love!
Dad
Baby
Ahhh!!!  A foster puppy being cared for by the owners of the garden center!!!  Fortunately for me this darling has already been spoken for and has a "furever" home coming to her very shortly!!  Otherwise I very well may have put her in my tote bag and smuggled her home!!  Lilly is her name and she's CRAZY adorable and so sweet!!
Tonight was Ty's parent special night and Ian decided to bring him to a fantastic Lego display at a mall close to us.  Tyler thought it would be fun for Kendall to go as well so the three of them went together - it's time they don't often get so I am so glad they were able to do so.  
He got right to building!
Seriously!?!?  Amazing.
Facinated!
Hello President Lincoln!
Getting in on the building fun!
WHAT?!?!  
How in the world do they do it?!
I'm sure I'll be back tomorrow with more pictures from tonight!  But for now I'm signing off and prepping my classroom for another fun day of learning tomorrow!