Friday, December 20, 2013

December Daybook

I am wearing: 
Sweats and my new sparkling gold sweatshirt. Everyone in my family thinks it looks like and old lady but I think they don't know fashion.

 What I am listening to:

 A lot of Christmas on Pandora. I especially like the Nutcracker station. I also hear children talking together as they play a game on the Kindle and other noises coming from the tub in my bathroom.

 In the Kitchen:

Lots and lots of treats around here:


Candy Cane Cookies

I actually put myself on a "no treats fast" for the day.  Tonight's dinner is a yummie wheat berry pilaf. 
I am looking forward to some Christmas cinnamon rolls, homemade butternut squash ravioli, rosemary bread and tiramisu. 

Around the House: 

The halls are decked and yes our huge tree is the centerpiece. Maybe when hubs is 70 we'll get a modest size tree.

Enjoying God's Creation:

I am so blessed by our little mountain town and its wintery snow.  Our home is an all-seasons destination--beach, camping and hiking in the summer and skiing, skating and sledding in the winter.  I heart it!!

In the Learning Loft:

Despite the hustle and bustle of the season we have faithfully maintained our lesson schedule and wrapped it up this morning with a movie.  This month we have focused on reading, spelling, fractions, decimals, multiplication, letters and the symbols of Christmas.

Montessori Multiplication Board

Spelling test
 And a bit of driedel too!

Celebrating the Season:

As you can see we have had many celebratory activities but 2 have been new to us this year.  First, the children all drew one another's names as secret buddies to buy, from their own money, a Christmas gift.  It has been comical to see how they cannot keep a secret. Helping each child think of and purchase a special gift has been so fun. Secondly, I signed up to ring the Salvation Army bell.  I have been wanting to be a bell ringer for years but was always apprehensive about participating but this year I put that aside and joined.  I did 2 different time slots and the girls accompanied me.  It was a wonderful opportunity to greet our community with Christmas cheer.

In the Gym: 

We finished T25 in November and are now wrapping up the year with selected workouts from our favorite programs--INSANITY, ASYLUM and P90Xplus.  We are Beacbbody coaches and offer free fitness and nutrition consulting to those in need.  If you need help improving your health, we can help.

From the Library:

I am reading Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  I have never been a Scrooge fan but felt lead to pick it up this season and I am so glad I did.  It challenges my reading abilities because it is such an old writing and has given me much to think about.  Here is a quote from the book when the ghost of Christmas Past and Scrooge are talking about his former apprenticeship and boss--"He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil.  Say that his power lies in words or looks; in things so slight and insignificant this it is impossible to add and count 'em up:"  I have been pondering that in regards to my own apprentices.  Isn't that what our children are?  Apprentices, in our care to learn the skills of life.  As their mother, I  can make them happpy or unhappy, burdened or light, or use my words and looks to build up or tear down.  The children look at me day in and day out, what do they see? If I am honest, much of the time a, a stern face.  I want to SMILE.  Pray for me in this area.

I also finished my 5 year read through the Bible. Yes, it was a long time.

Merry Christmas and thanks for visiting.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cranberry Thanksgiving

Cranberry Thanksgiving is one of our all time favorite books.  I don't know if it is because it was one of the first successful unit studies our family did , if it is because of the yummie treat the reading of the story always demands or if it is just the signaling of the changing seasons we enjoy most.  Whatever it is, this story is here to stay and a family classic in our home.

This season I decided to share the story with our homeschool co-op class.  This class was for k and 1st graders.  We started out by identifying the New England States on our maps and coloring them.  I used a printable from Homeschool Shares Unit Study found here.

Then we watched a video from You Tube of the cranberry harvest:

From Bog to Table

I think the children really love seeing all the equipment used to bring cranberries to our table.

After all the background information it was time to read out story:

And of course, we followed it with a tasting of Cranberry Bread:

Here is a good recipe to try from Ocean Spray. I don't have a picture of it but we also cut the berries in half and used them to stamp a decorative border on a copy of the recipe to take home and try.  I really loved how the stamping turned out and gave so much detail of the berry's insides.

After our snack and a bit of play we strung cranberries and popcorn to take home and hang on a tree or bush to feed the birds, chipmunks and squirrels.

That's it.  A quick study for Thanksgiving.  Thanks for stopping by and I am linking up with Montessori Monday.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Leaf Day

A few weeks ago, as we wrapped up our summer/early fall term my oldest declared it leaf day.  What is leaf day you ask?  It was a day to celebrate fall and take a break from our regular studies to enjoy art, baking and a bit of science.

Leaf Day was a day of art with different media.  We started by following this idea for painting a fall tree with q-tips.  As you can see, each child is different and put their own spin on their project.

Then we moved on to some fun with markers from Kathy Barbro. Kathy's site is great fun, with projects for all ages, abilities and intensities.

The last project was also from Kathy's site and a bit challenging for even me. It was a complete the leaf, copy its details and colors activity.


Between art projects we also pulled out our fall cookie cutters for some sugar cookie making.  Have you ever added autumn spices to your dough or glaze, try it, you will probably like it. Think ginger, nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon.  I love the way the sugar sparkles on the icing.

Science/Nature Study
Finally, we collected all of our Fall books for some reading and learning why leaves change colors.

Why Do Leaves Change Color?
Look What I Did with a Leaf
Fall Leaves Fall !
Fall Is Here I Love It!
Leaf Man

I f you still have leaves on your trees take some time to enjoy there beauty and make it a special day with the children.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Bit of Fine Arts--Chalk Pastels

 Many months ago I pinned this great blog called Hodgepodge.  I pinned it because it had wonderful art lessons in acrylics and chalk pastels.  The chalk pastels really struck a cord with me and we have been able to focus a few of our lessons on this creative pursuit.  All you need to do is look at this blog post, pick your lessons, get some chalk pastels and some drawing paper.

We have had such a great time drawing and blending. I am amazed at what is possible with some easy lessons and a few good supplies.  We started with Angry Birds, I thought that would grab their attention right away.

B is 4 years old, I drew the bird and he did the coloring and finger smearing.

We also tried our hand at blueberries.

And a slice of watermelon.

Next we are going to try our hand at nature drawings with Thoreau in the woods.

It's Montessori Monday and I'm linking up.

Friday, August 23, 2013

I Took the Day Off!!

 I woke up when the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. and thought "I need a day off."  You know your in bad shape when the first thought you have upon rising is "I need some rest." It was tough to get through my workout and hard to look forward to a hike with friends when my body and brain were tired.

 I made it through the workout, giving it all I could and then the friends canceled our hiking plan and I thought "today's the day, I'm taking it off."  I don't mean off in the normal since of farming the children out to my husband or leaving the house to go grocery shopping.  What mean is I took the day off from my To Do List.  It dosen't mean I didn't do anything on my list, it just means that the list was not the priority and what a difference it made.  I baked muffins for lunch and brownies for dinner.  I played board games with my children, 3 times.

 I journaled for Project Life. I even read a fun book in the morning and attempted a nap at 10 a.m. I say attempted because when the children are about, a nap is almost impossible. They always need something no matter how many times you say "if the door is closed don't open it unless I am screaming."  I did a bit of homeschool planning. And look, I am even writing a blog post. Taking a day off meant I made myself available to my children, not my list and I did whatever struck my fancy, like the baking and reading instead of running from one to do to another.  I think a day off did me some good.

Why don't you try it?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Nature Reading Booklist

We love books around here and every afternoon is dedicated to reading aloud and individual quiet reading or book looking.  I like to make lists subject by subject of the books we are going to read for the coming year and check them off as we progress.  I say progress because often our lists are over ambitious and either unfinished or even unused.  That is the case of our nature reading list for 2012/2013.  I made the list last fall specifically to read with K and B but as you can see it was over ambitious and we actually read very little.So this summer as I was planning science work I pulled out the list and we are reading a little at a time.  Our main nature text is A Nature Walk with Aunt Bessie.  Aunt Bessie takes her niece and nephew through her garden teaching about each thing they encounter and that is where our list comes in to play.  If there is a book on our nature list that fits in with Aunt Bessie's teachings we read it, last week we read Spiders.  We also read books from the list when we come upon the topic in our own yard or around town.

Nature Reading
Smithsonian Backyard
Bumblebee at Apple Tree Lane
Monarch Butterfly of Aster Way
Chipmunk at Hollow Tree Lane
Cottontail at Clover Crescent
Ladybug at Orchard Avenue
Gray Squirrel at Pacific Avenue
Canada Goose at Cattail Lane
Mallard Duck at Meadow View Pond
Robin at Hickory Street
Little Black Ant on Park Street
Gail Gibbons
The Moon Book
Galaxies, Galaxies
Weather Words
The Magic School Bus:
Gets Eaten
Gets Baked in a Cake
Lost in The Solar System
Sees Stars
Thornton Burgess
The Bird Book for Children
The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk
Old Mother West Wind
Lightfoot the Deer
The Adventures of Peter Cottontail
Mrs. Peter Rabbit
The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse
The Adventures of Bobby Raccoon
The Adventures of Reddy Fox
The Adventures of Poor Mrs. Quack
The Adventures of Buster Bear
The Adventures of Old Man Coyote
The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel
The Adventures of Grandfather Frog
The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad
The Adventures of Prickly Porky
Why Do Leaves Change Colors?
I Can Read About Wolves
See How they Grow—Frogs
From the Library
Walking with Henry—Thoreau
Henry David’s House—Thoreau
Henry Builds a Cabin—Thoreau
Henry Hikes to Fitchburg—Thoreau

Here are a few pictures of how we have been spending time in the great outdoors:

Sunday Afternoon walk down by the river.

B riding at the Pump Track.

E and A catching frogs and tadpoles.

E picked wild flowers for little ol' me.

Today is Montessori Monday and I am linking up!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Balloon Animals and YouTube

Hi everyone!  How is your summer going?  We have been very busy this past week with Vacation Bible School and gearing up for more fun this week.  On the 4th of July we celebrate E's 11th birthday, which means a trip to the water park and on the 5th it is my husband's birthday, so this is always a go, go, go time of the summer for us.  However, among the hustle and bustle the children still need some suggestions of what to do when we are home in the afternoon (especially when I have pulled the t.v. and all devices).  So out came the balloons.

We started with a package of animal balloons and the book Crazy Balloon Modeling.

It was so interesting to watch the children attack this project.  E got right to work making a dog for herself and then for B our youngest. K wanted a ladybug which proved to be too much for her and for me.  (If you follow me on Facebook, you saw my post "It's official, "I suck at balloon animals!"  AJ took a long, long time to decide on what to make.

Poor little K was so frustrated about her lack of abilities but then she got creative,  She scrapped the book and just followed her own ideas and made a few hats and balloons.  I was so proud of her.  She gets frustrated then can go into a very negative mode but she pulled herself out and moved forward.

E is a get to it kind of gal and she helped B participate by making him a dog and a humming bird.

Then we moved on to YouTube. Is there no end to the self and home education that can be done through that website?  If you want to make balloon animals just search "easy balloon animals" and you will be overwhelmed with choices.  AJ watched and watched then finally made a sword and a dog.

Watching a YouTube tutorial.

E is making a heart she saw on YouTube.

After the animal balloons, out came the party balloons for games of all kinds.

So, don't ever underestimate the fun that balloons can be on a hot summer afternoon.  I think I will also add this to our list of winter activity ideas.

I also wanted to tell you how fabulous rocket balloons are.  I don't have any pictures but if you haven't tried them yet, you should.  Once you pump them up they travel a long distance with a great noise.

And just in case you wanted to know what I did to help in this fun, since I was a complete failure at making animals, well I was the official balloon tie-er.

Today is Montessori Monday and I am linking up!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Challenge Just for You!

Hello Everyone, I hope you are all having a good day.  Hubs and I just returned from the Beachbody Coach Summit and we had a wonderful time.

7,000 coaches up at 6:30 on Saturday morning for a Super Workout

Jay and I before the Super Workout

 Many of you many recall previous posts about Beachbody's Ultimate Reset or even me mentioning my workout programs in my About Me posts.  Health and Fitness is one of our core family values and being Beachbody coaches and product users has helped us develop that belief and lifestyle in our home and encourage others to do the same.

I hosted a 3 day Shakeology Cleanse Challenge back in May and was so pleased with my personal results, 4 pounds lost in 3 days, a clean fresh feeling on the inside and the building of my self- control muscles.  Would you please consider joining me for my next challenge beginning in July?  Watch this video, it sums up what Beachbody is about and explains the ins and outs of a challenge group.

If you can identify with anything shared in the video or feel a bit of excitement growing inside your heart for healthy living, lets talk.  Leave me a comment below with a way of contacting you, I would love to lead you on your own personal challenge journey.

On our way to Beachbody's Celebration of Coach and Customer accomplishments in which 2 people won $100,000 for getting healthy.