Friday, February 25, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up: Days 115-116 The One on Vacation

My Mom and Dad are school bus drivers, and since this is February Vacation week for public schools in Maine we headed up to the island to spend some time with them, my sisters, my BILs, and niece N. 

On Monday we packed up the van - I've found putting our clothing in a plastic laundry basket is the best way for us to pack for visiting my family - and headed off mid-morning. It's a 4 hour drive, but the weather was nice and the kids traveled well.  We arrived mid-afternoon and spend the rest of the day settling in and watched "Gold Rush: Alaska" on Discovery in the evening. The kids found it QUITE interesting.
A Pull-Out Rest Stop Along the Way
On Tuesday the kids played with their little 2-year-old cousin N and had dental appointments. (Dental appointments on vacation? Yup! LOL) They spent their day playing outside in the snow, reading books, watching TV, and playing DSi's. J made yummy molasses cookies - a recipe from his 90-year-old great-grandmother.
Soft Molasses Cookies
On Wednesday we headed into the "city" with family for their birthday gifts to the kids: bowling, shopping, and dinner out at Friendly's (with ice cream of course).
With another snowstorm heading our way on Friday, we drove back home on Thursday after lunch (and washing our dirty laundry).  And C came back with a new special friend from my sister J4...Meet Mocha or Moe (for short)! Notice his chubby cheeks? He certainly enjoys the fancy hamster food C bought for him!
Mocha - Siberian Dwarf Hamster
Snowy Friday meant a day at home! We made wild blue blueberry pancakes and sipped hot cocoa while watching movies, and then the kids cleaned their bedrooms thoroughly and I caught up on some laundry.

So, how was YOUR week? Check out other Weekly Wrap-ups by clicking on the Weird, Unscocialized Homeschoolers button on my sidebar. And don't forget to link up to the Hip Homeschool Hop and the Hop Along Friday to get some great ideas for home and school!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cooking Up Some...Soft Molasses Cookies

Soft Molasses Cookies
Grandma Doris

3/4 c softened butter or margarine
3/4 c white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c milk
3/4 c molasses
4 c sifted all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground cloves
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1 t salt
1/4 c powdered sugar

Cream butter and white sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat in eggs, milk and molasses. Sift together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well. Drop by spoonful or roll to 1/4" thick and cut with floured cookie cutters and place on cookie sheet(s). Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and dust with powdered sugar.

Notes: If the batter seems too "wet", add a little more flour. You can also add raisins to the batter and bake as well. Or make small cookie sandwiches with can vanilla or cream cheese frosting.
Soft Molasses Cookies

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snapshot Summary of SPD: S's Spinning Swing and Swirling Windmill

With the help of Dad, S pulled out the Lego Education: Simple Machines - Gears kit and assembled a spinning swing. (Remember the swing ride at amusement parks?) If that wasn't neat enough, he completed the 2nd project ON HIS OWN - a spinning windmill - with some "personal modifications". And the next day while I was grocery shopping with C, they pulled out the pulley kit and made a crane. It's SO exciting to see knowledge UNDERSTOOD and APPLIED after it's learned! Check out the HAPPY faces in some of these photos!
Lego Education: Simple Machines - Gears
Building the Gear Axle
Testing the Gears
Adding Lego People to the Swing
Getting Ready to Spin
Telling C That the People Will be Sick! LOL
One Last Spin Before Demolition
Finished Windmill
And the Pulley
We purchased our 3 Lego Education: Simple Machines kits - Gears, Wheels and Axles and Pulleys - from Amazon. Unfortunately the kits don't come with information on why and how the simple machine works, so be prepared with information to share with your child. Have fun building and learning! And check out other Lego creations by clicking on the Lego button on my left sidebar.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

C's Crafty Corner - Fleece Boa Scarves

On Saturday, C attended a FREE scarf-making class at the library. She was VERY excited about taking this class and was the first one there!

She joined our new librarian in the reference room and picked out her fleece colors - purple and white - and the librarian cut the fleece into 5' x 6" strips. (There are 2 purple and 2 white strips.) The stripes were lined up, alternating colors, and then C headed to the study room to join the librarian's Mom. 

She taught C how to use a sewing machine! (Although we've had our own sewing machine for years, we've never used it.) A zigzag stitch was sewn down the length of the alternating fleece stripes in the middle.
C TOTALLY Concentrating on Straight Sewing
Once the strips were sewn together, she headed back to the reference room and cut 1" wide fringes on both sides of the zigzag stitch, taking care to only cut until 1/2" from the stitching. (Cutting too far would make the scarf fall apart easily.)
C Cutting 1" Wide Fringe

A Close-up of the Fringes
 And voila! a fleece boa scarf! Over time the fringe will curl making the scarf look fuller and more boa-like. She LOVES it!
C With her Finished Scarf
She's inspired to do more sewing projects now, making more scarves for her friends. She uncovered our sewing machine and brought it in from the storage room and is (im)patiently waiting for me to buy her some fleece. 

Special thanks to our WONDERFUL new librarian for offering this GREAT class!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Artist Study: Georgia O'Keeffe

This month's Artist was Georgia O'Keeffe. We started our study a couple of weeks ago by filling out our notebooking pages using books borrowed from the library and studying a small outdated calendar of her work.

Calendar of her Work
J's Notebook Page
C's Notebook Page
Today we created our own O'Keeffe-inspired painting after reviewing her works once more and discussing her style.
At Work
S's 1st Painting
S's 2nd Painting
C's Painting
J's Painting
For your own Artist Study notebooking pages, visit Harmony Art Mom's blog and click on the free downloads here.

Weekly Wrap-up: Days 110-114 - Birthdays, Basketball and SUN!

Over the weekend, S had his final Basketball Skills and Drills and got his participation trophy. He had a GREAT time! (We're SO fortunate to have wonderful community members who volunteer their time and energy for our Recreational Sports program!) C had her Basketball Round Robin. Players on the High School varsity team coached. They said C had talent! She's learned SO much about the game since starting last year! And J had a disappointing loss against one of the better teams in the league, but he played HARD and WELL (and needed a shower afterward - YUCK!).
S with his Trophy and Ball
C with her Trophy

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SWEET S! He turned 6 on Sunday! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY WONDERFUL J! He turned 12 on Tuesday!

Have you seen Despicable Me? Such a cute movie! With lots of laughs! Monday afternoon we watched it with a friend. And J, C and I played some games of Sorry!, Guess Who Extra and Rummikub.
A Fun Game of Sorry!
On Tuesday S had another session of "Astronaut Training" at OT to help with his vision processing difficulties (and his SPD). Slowly but surely I've noticed some small improvements with his ability to track words from word-to-word and line-to-line. It's still a struggle some mornings for him to read his Hooked on Phonics: Learn to Read, but he IS learning to read and tries SO hard.

Winter Wednesday! The weather was chilly, but sunny when we headed out to study different kinds of evergreens or conifers. Check out what we did here!

LOTS of bright sunshine on Thursday! J had his Not Math Math where they studied hexaflaxagons. And in the afternoon the kids' friends came over to play games, chase each other, create with homemade modeling dough, and get soaked in the melting snow.C and S went to PJ Storytime at the library, listened to books on snowman and made sand snowmen.
How to Make Flexagons

C's Sand Snowman
Drip! Drip! Another warm...well, for Maine in on Friday. The kids completed their core subject daily assignments and after lunch we painted Georgia O'Keeffe-inspired painting for this month's Artist Study. Check out our paintings and notebook pages here!
J's Accomplishments:
Teaching Textbooks Lessons 75-77, Chapter 10 test (95.65%)
Apologia General Science Module 8: Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism (94.11%)
Teacher's Cafe Middle School Grammar - Verb Tenses
Wordly Wise Lessons 18 and 19
Creative Composition - Mystery
DK's History of the World Chapters 16 and 17
Sheppard Software World Geography Games
Dance Mat Typing
J's Stack of Wordly Wise Vocabulary
J's Mod 8 Lap n Note
J's Mod 8 Lap n Note
 C's Accomplishments:
Saxon Math 54 Lessons 63-65, Supplemental Practice
Handwriting Without Tears
History Pockets: Native Americans - Iroquois/Seminole
All About Spelling Step 7 and 8
Apologia Zoology III: Chapter 9 Even-toed Ungulates
Creative Writing - Letter (2)
Daily Grams Day 12-19
Scott Foreman Grammar and Writing Handbook Verbs in Sentences
C's History Pocket: Native Americans
C's History Pocket: Native Americans
C Sewing Her Blanket
S's Accomplishments:
Hooked on Phonics: Learn to Read pp 36-39
Handwriting Without Tears U, W and V
Get Ready for Kindergarten Math pp 86-94, 143-148
Soft School's Addition Games
Kumon Mazes
Blank 100 Grid 31-35
Dover Coloring Book: Cars and Trucks Dot-to-Dot
Magnetic Color Cubes: Mosaics
Health Lapbook (from Homeschool Share)
S's Mini Books: Food Groups and Taking Care of Self
S's Mini-Books: Inside the Body
S's Color-by-Addition Peacock
S's Mini Books: Bomes
On Our Bookshelf This Week:
Meet ______: An American Girl (C's been working through EVERY girl.)
The Apocalypse Troll by David Weber (J)
Germs Make me Sick by Melvin Berger (S)
The Skeleton Inside You by Philip Balestrino (S)
Dem Bones by Bob Barner (S)

Don't forget - the Great Backyard Bird Count starts today! Click on the button on my sidebar to participate! It's quick and easy! And you don't have to participate all weekend. We already entered our numbers for 15 minutes of observing this afternoon: 2 Mourning Doves, 2 Blue Jays, 5 Black-capped Chickadees, and 3 Tufted Titmice.
Black-Capped Chickadee
That's our week! Thanks for reading! Check out other wrap-ups by clicking on the Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers button on my side bar. And join up with the Hip Homeschool Hop!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nature Studies: Evergreens

What a perfect nature study challenge for us this week - Evergreens! Surrounding our house is a FOREST of beautiful, stately Evergreens to explore: Eastern White Pines, Blue Spruce, and Balsam Fir. Our focus this week was to explore the yard, identifying different evergreens and comparing their needle-shaped leaves, cones and bark.
Our Reference Books for This Nature Study
So, we bundled up and headed out to explore the yard on an overcast, chilly day. Trudging through the deep snow covered with ice was a bit rough, so we didn't venture into our woods far. We found some interesting animal tracks and most of us think they're possibly raccoon. 
Raccoon Tracks?
We identified our three main types of conifers and one evergreen shrub, took samples and headed back inside to warm up. The kids observed QUICKLY that the curled rhododendron leaf uncurled in the warmth of the house. They decided to experiment by placing the leaf in the freezer and taking it out to watch it uncurl over and over.
S's Surprised to see the Rhododendron Uncurl
Our Needle (and a Cone) Samples
C Checking Out the Pine Needles Close-Up
After discussing the differences in the needles, including shape, color, how they feel and smell, and how they grow, the kids wrote up their notebooking pages.
J's Notebook Page
C's Notebook Page
S's Notebook Page
Check out other Winter Wednesday and Outdoor Hour Challenges at Handbook of Nature Study Blog and enjoy other Science "happenings" at Science Sunday!