Friday, August 31, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up: Seasons of Change (8/25-8/31)

In Our Life This Week
Our summer vacation months have come to an end. And right on schedule, Mother Nature has dropped our 80s and sometimes 90s down to 70s, and we have a few leaves turning color (although I think that might be the drier weather we've been having).


It's been a great summer! The Saplings and I have been super busy (as usual), but we found a lot of time for our most favorite summer activities: swimming, camping, reading, friends, late bedtimes, and picnics.

But now it's time for schoolin' and fall sports and scouts. And, you know, I'm looking forward to the change of seasons! ::grin::

A look back through the summer...

On The Island: Rocky Ocean Beach, Playing in the Mud Flats with Cousin Noodle, Whoopie
Pie Sundae, Lobster Roll, Swimming, and Wild Flowers
Camping: Tenting, Fires, and Swimming
Around Home: Flowers, Hiking, Flooding, Relaxing in the Hammock, Reading in the Van,
Kayaking, and Making Pickles

In Our Homeschool This Week
I met with each of the Saplings this week to look over our new curricula and discuss expectations. This was especially important for White Pine who will be managing his time this year and keeping his own records. As a 9th grader, I feel it's time for him to take over his learning (for the most part). And the younger Saplings were able to see their new work binder set-ups and workbox task cards I added to the front of their binders (to help them be more productive). 

Sugar Maple's Sample Schedule with Workbox Task Cards
from Homeschool Creations. These are velcroed onto her
work binder.
As activities are completed, the cards are flipped over.
When they are all flipped, her school day is done. 
I store extra laminated workbox task cards in a recycled
plastic jar.

White Pine also learned to mow the lawn. Again. I think he was traumatized 2 years ago when he broke the mower after only a few minutes into his first ever mow. ::sigh:: Or maybe he's afraid it'll become HIS chore? But alas! that won't happen because Balsam Fir was quite upset to see big brother touching what he's come to call "my mower". White Pine has been asked to mow a friend's lawn for pay so we thought we would start at home to practice first.

Sugar Maple rediscovered our  "Oregon Trail" CD-rom game. She's been buying covered wagons, loading them up with supplies and heading down the trail. What's neat about this game is that you can fish for food, hunt deer and other animals or collect plants to eat (learning which ones are safe to eat), barter and trade, and even read a journal along the trail. She's had to make choices about crossing rivers, climbing mountains and dealing with weather. She hasn't conquered the trail yet, but I bet she will! (I'd totally recommend this game!)

And wouldn't you know it - Sugar Maple and Balsam Fir came running inside with an old 5 gallon bucket...and a White-footed baby mouse that fell out of MY VAN. ::sigh:: The Saplings made a habitat for it, but further research showed that they can carry Lyme Disease as well Hantavirus, a rare, but possibly deadly infection. As cute and helpless as it is, Mousie was returned to the wild of the woods.

What's Working/Not Working for Me?
::sigh:: Would you believe that I had another flat tire this week? Looks like I picked up a nail from Balsam Fir's latest building project - a miniature coop and chicken run. His building projects have been moved to a safer tire location. But I now have a working carpet steamer and some cleaner rugs!

I'm full of anticipation and excitement for our new school year on Monday! (Yes, Labor Day! What better way to celebrate with a little school "labor"! ::wink::) Isn't it a great feeling? ::smile:: White Pine starts high school. High school! And after a couple of years straying from Charlotte Mason, Sugar Maple and Balsam Fir will return to our more natural approach to learning. So, here's hoping for a fun year full of exploration and investigations!

Back-to-School Countdown: 3 days!

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

I'm Nominated! Liebster Award from Little Adventures

Amy from Little Adventures nominated me for the Liebster Award! It's ALWAYS exciting to receive a blog award from another blogger! Amy is a homeschooling Mama of one in the Bahamas. (Yeah, come January when we're BURIED in snow, I'll be jealous too! ::laugh::) Head over and visit her here!

The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers by bloggers. It is a way to acknowledge each other and say “you’re doing a great job”. It is for blogs with 200 or less followers, so it’s also a great way to spread the word about smaller blogs and get them more readers and followers! When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions from the person(s) who nominated you. You pass the Award onto 11 other blogs (make sure you tell them you nominated them!) and ask them 11 questions. You’re not allowed to nominate the blog(s) who nominated you! (To get the button, right click the picture on my page and save the picture to your computer. You can then upload to your blog.)

11 Random Things
1. I love iced tea in the warm months and hot cocoa in the cool months.
2. My favorite colors are orange and blue.
3. I play Words with Friends on my Kindle Fire before going to bed at night.
4. I bake a lot, but don't really enjoy it.
5. Going for walks with my dog is very relaxing.
6. I know the words to all the songs on our 25th anniversary Schoolhouse Rock CD.
7. I loathe doing dishes!
8. I don't mind cleaning out the chicken coop (even if it's been a while).
9. I used to scrapbook and cross-stitch all the time.
10. I enjoy watching the kids play soccer, basketball and softball games so I can chat with other Moms.
11. I have read all the Twilight and Hunger Games books.

Amy's Questions for Me
1. Whats your hometown?
I grew up off the coast of Maine on a fishing island.
2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To have perfect vision!
3. Whats your dream vacation spot?
Somewhere quiet in the woods where someone else would cook and clean.
4. Whats your fave movie?
Forrest Gump
5. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did it come true?
Adolescent Psychologist, but I became a teacher.
6. Do you have any siblings?
3 younger sisters
7. Have you ever been to a concert?
Yes - Billy Joel and Jimmy Buffet...but not together. ::laugh::
8. What is your fave dessert?
9. Do you have a favorite author?
No, not really. I read too many different things to have a favorite!
10. Whats one thing on your bucket list?
Believe it or not, I don't have a Bucket List, but some day I would like to drive around the US and see all the sights in an RV.
11. Whats your fave thing to do on a rainy day?
Read or watch movies

My 11 Noms
3 Crazy Monkeys
Raising Little Rhodies
World of Julie
The Hmmm....schooling Mom
The Berry Patch
Blessed Little Homestead
The Mothership Adventures
Adventure Academy Mom
The Farming Wife
Casting Pearls

Totally Random or Strange Questions for my Noms
1. What hardwood coloring do you like best? Yellows? Mahoganies? Natural?
2. What planet do you find the most interesting?
3. Lobster or Shrimp? What's the best?
4. Is there a movie or book series that you just can't stand?
5. Chocolate or vanilla?
6. Do you watch or read the daily news? Or avoid it because of the negative events?
7. What is your favorite magazine?
8. Sneakers, flip-flops or dress shoes? What do you like best?
9. What's the one children's TV show that you enjoy watching but would NEVER EVER let your kids know?
10. Camping or hotel?
11. Do your socks go missing from the dryer (like mine)?

Congratulations! And have fun!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up: The One Where I'm HOME ALONE! (8/18-8/24)

In MY Life This Week...

I wasn't going to do a weekly wrap-up this week. Why bother? I was home alone!

Yes! Home alone!

On Monday I met my sister 1/2 way between here and the island. We had burgers and fries at Red Robin, and then Saplings grabbed their packed bags and jumped into her vehicle and away they went. I'll be heading down to the island tomorrow, but I've been without kids for 5 days. 5 very quiet, very calm...very boring days!

It was just me...and the dog, cat, hamster, fish, chickens, and ducks.

Who would've thought I would miss the constant messes and question-after-question and tripping over toys! Not me! But I certainly didn't miss the dirty laundry or dishes! ::wink::

I wanted to share my week in a collage because I did do some interesting things. Sort of. ::laugh:: I've never participated in Collage Friday at Homegrown Learners before, but all those collages I've been seeing have been kinda cool. (Thanks, Karen from HomeSchool Girls, for the suggestion of an on-line collage making program!) And, well, I had a lot of FREE TIME on my hands this week to try something new. ::wink::

So, here's a wrap-up of my week in pictures!

L. to R. and Top to Bottom: Harvesting Cucumbers from the Veggie Garden,
Hens (Speckles, Roadrunner, Rhodie, and Chee) Inspecting my Coop
Cleaning Job, Drinking Tea and Reading an Amish Romance Novel, Relaxing
in the Hammock Under theMaples, Making Freezer Meals for the Upcoming
Busy Days,A Mystery Flower from the Flower Garden, and my ALWAYS
Willing and Ready Walking Partner Rose

In Our Homeschool This Week

Now, the Saplings have been having a great time! White Pine made pickles with Nannie Lobster, using her garden cukes and a recipe from Grandpa Lobster's 90-year-old mother. Sugar Maple has been having sleepovers with her island friends and went horse back riding. And Balsam Fir has been playing video games and eating junk food. They've gone to the ocean to swim and explore the rocky coast, made cupcakes and gone out to restaurants. Pretty spoiled wouldn't you say? ::wink::

Back-to-School Countdown: 11 days!

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Flying Dragon and Monstrous T-Rex


Balsam Fir lost 2 teeth last week; one on Friday that I nudged out and another that he SWALLOWED while eating cheese pizza on Sunday. The Tooth Fairy left him a Lego set, which he was SUPER excited about (of course)!

It's a really cool Lego set because he can build 3 different PREHISTORIC HUNTERS from the pieces. However, don't mistake the dragon for the Pteranodon! ::wink:: 

"Mooommm! It's a DRAGON!" explained an exasperated Balsam Fir with a sigh. 

What do I know? ::laugh::

Anyway, he requested that I take some photos and "share with the world", so here they are!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up - The Missing Piece: August 11-17

In Our Life
With White Pine off to Advanced Culinary Camp at the community college, it felt like something was missing all week. Funny how that works, huh? And this weekend I'll be packing up the Saplings for a week visit with Grandpa and Nannie Lobster. I'm staying home to catch up on some household projects and gearing up for another year of school, which is set to begin September 4th. 

What's Cooking?
Bread Machine English Muffins!

Ingredients (Place in Order Except Cornmeal)
6-7 oz warm water
1 t salt
2 T butter, cut into small pieces
2 1/4 c bread flour
1/4 c dry milk
1/4 c wheat germ
1/4 c quick cook oats
2 T sugar
2 t active dry yeast
1/4 c cornmeal 

Place everything, but cornmeal in the bread machine and select dough setting and run. When the dough is done, sprinkle cornmeal onto the counter, place it on top, and roll out until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 3 inch circles. (I just used a plastic cup for this. ::laugh::) Place onto an ungreased cookie sheet with cornmeal side down. Cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes in a warm area. Now, you can either preheat a griddle or dry frying pan to 250 degrees and cook about 8 minutes on each or side, or you can do it the lazy creative cook way like I did: throw them into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes and call it good! ::wink:: Makes about 10 muffins.

(Now, I was planning on adding a photo because the muffins did come out really well, but for some reason Photoshop isn't loading up the the photo! ::sigh::)

Homeschool Happenings
Sugar Maple continued to work on her How to Write a Paragraph paragraph. "Mooommm, do I have to edit it again?" Yep! She doesn't see the point in going through the editing process, even to clean up Grammar and Spelling, but we're working on it. And looking up words in the dictionary? ::laugh:: She's been getting around it by changing the words she isn't able to spell into words she can! Sneaky, huh? 

And Balsam Fir continued with his on-line reading, writing and spelling lessons. (Stay tuned for our review later in the month.) I can't say he's crazy-liking these educational games, but maybe it's just being on summer break? I DO like the program though and think it's beneficial to his Language Arts.

I guess all of this doesn't sound like DELIGHT-DIRECTED learning, but sometimes we - kiddos and Mamas alike - need to just tackle something even if it's not on our Happy-to-Do Lists. Some things just need to be worked on! Wouldn't it be nice to skip dirty dishes though? or long division? So, as much as I would like school to ALWAYS be exciting it simply can't be, but I do try to make it as interesting and "painless" as possible.

We're Reading...
...a thriller entitled Gone Missing by Linda Castillo (and it's not from the Young Adult Room!) (me), WHO KNOWS (White Pine), a mystery book called Trixie Belden: the Mysterious Visitor by Julie Campbell (Sugar Maple), early readers Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (still) and Henry and Mudge and the Bedtime Thumps by Cynthia Rylant (Balsam Fir), and The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden (still) (family read aloud).

A Few of Our Favorite Things
So, I've been continuing to get stuff ready for our new school year. My latest crazy creative idea is to fill a box of hands-on learning games and puzzles for Balsam Fir (and maybe Sugar Maple) to do when he's needing a break from more formal, challenging lessons. I've added Coin War from First Grade Frogs, Math with Roman Numerals from Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational, and now Silly Sentences from Instant Display. We probably won't use the games EXACTLY as described, but that's how we roll! ::laugh:: Silly Sentences will be used to learn nouns, verbs and adjectives, and write random sentences with correct punctuation and capitalization, and to read new words. For now.

Roman Numeral Game Board Slipped Into a Plastic Page
Protector. Balsam Fir will Learn to Values of Roman
Numerals First and then Adding and Subtracting
Roman Numeral Playing Cards and Help Chart Slipped Into
Back of Page Protector and Game Board
Colored Coded Silly Sentence Game Pieces
Game Instructions That We Probably
Won't Use
Silly Sentences to Organize, Read and Write into Complete,
Correct Sentences for Copywork
Add up Coin Values on Cards and Highest Gets the Cards.
First to get All the Playing Cards, Wins Coin War

Remember last wrap-up I shared that both boys had loose teeth? Well, Balsam Fir's came out...Well, ONE did. The other tooth was swallowed at dinnertime! Imagine his surprise to notice it was gone while eating cheese pizza! ::wink:: But White Pine is STILL waiting to lose that final molar! It's hanging on!

Giggles to Share

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