Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Peak at Our Week: Session 4 Week 1 - The One With Sour Lemons

In Our Life the Last 2 Weeks
Life has sure given us a lot of sour lemons lately. Boxes of them! We've turned some of those lemons into lemonade, and someday the rest of them will be made into something "refreshing" too. Lemons can be good, right? In the meantime, we're thankful for the family and friends in our lives, our health, homeschooling, and the continued comfort of our home.

And Mother Nature has given us one of the snowiest winters in February. Ever. It's been one of those winters where we just haven't been "into" the snow so fortunately the temperatures are warmer now and the snow isn't sticking around for long despite coming down in FOOT measurements. How long until spring?

Things I Worked On
✔ Decluttering the Downstairs
✔ Scrubbing Down the Frig
 Steam-cleaning the Carpets
✔ Fixing 2 Kitchen Drawers...Twice
 Organizing School Supplies

What We're Cooking
Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole with Steamed Corn
Spaghetti and Mozzarella-stuffed Meatballs with steamed Green Beans
Scrambled Egg, Bacon and Cheddar Cheese English Muffin Sandwiches with Pineapple
Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

This Week in Our Homeschooling
Have you seen Coursera? It's this FREE on-line resource where you can sign up for college level video instruction from universities around the world. White Pine started a Computer Science 101 self-study this week. I'm doing it with him since my CS knowledge comes to a complete halt after Facebook, e-mail and Blogger. He's enjoyed my stumbling attempts at programming code a little too much. ::wink:: Kids pick up this stuff way quicker than adults, don't they?

Now, I don't want to jinx it by saying anything, but Balsam Fir still seems to like Lego Math (i.e. Math-U-See Beta). ::crossing fingers:: He wrapped up lesson 1 and started 2 this week, having time to build with the blocks after each worksheet. Maybe this is THE Math for him!

Sugar Maple continued her Health studies independently, studying body systems. She's wanted to "spread her wings" and be more responsible for her learning. Go, SM! And Balsam Fir is using Lakeshore Science Folder games. We're inbetween science studies right now, waiting for spring to arrive and continue Botany.

And we read about the Dark Ages and the spread of Christianity from the fallen Roman Empire to England through the Archbishop of Canterbury Augustine and his monks. The sapling created some fancy letters like the monks did as they copied books word-by-word. Sugar Maple enjoyed this creative activity, but, well, Balsam Fir, scribbled his down with some color and was D-O-N-E. ::shrug:: He did a little better on our Justinian and Theodora paper dolls when we moved onto the Byzantine Empire, but just a tad. Coloring is not his thing!

White Pine's Accomplishments
Julius Caesar, Algebra Lessons 73-75: Factoring Squares, Probability, Scientific Notation, Slope, Biology Chapter 22: Plants, CS 101 (Week 1; Code, Variables and Digital Images), Europe: Geography and History

Sugar Maple's Accomplishments
The Incredible Journey, Creative Story (3127 words), Reading Comprehension (pp 112-115), Word Builder (Gr 3: Unit 8-16), Lessons 100-103: Fractions and Division and Circles, Xtra Math: Subtraction (97%), Skeletal, Respiratory and Muscular Systems, Archbishop Augustine, Byzantine Empire (Justinian and Theodora),

Balsam Fir's Accomplishments
Daniel's Duck, Writing Journal, Word Builder (Gr 1: Completed, Gr 2: ), MUS: Lesson 1: Place Value and Addition Facts (Test 17/18), MUS: Lesson 2: Sequence, Water Cycle, Archbishop Augustine, Byzantine Empire (Justinian and Theodora)

Books, Books, Books
We had only a few chapters to read before finishing up The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe before vacation, but our reading together time got pushed aside with all of life's happenings.  So, (finally) onto Prince Caspian next week! 

People We Saw, Places We Went
★ Ice Skating and Shopping with Grandparents and M_ (All) ★ T_ and L_ (WP)  Bowling and Dinner with Grandparents (All)  Scouts (WP/BF) ★ Band (SM) ★ Library 

Something to Share

Thanks for stopping by Our Side of the Mountain! We're linking up to these wonderful blog hops! Oh, and since our days are pretty chaotic right now, I'm postponing the Explorers Blog Hop until spring. But stop back next week to see what we're up to in our Peak at Our Week post! 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Explorers Blog Hop 3: Mountain of White

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there really is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. 
- John Rushkin

Winter has finally arrived in Maine, or rather the SNOW has. We've had bone-chilling cold and light "dustings of white powder", but the snow fell in gusty heaviness last Friday and Saturday, covering everything deeply. 

But the sapling totally embraced it, especially Balsam Fir. He's been (im)patiently waiting for some "real" snow to fall. And 26 inches of snow in 24 hours definitely counts as "real" snow, don't you think? So, they spent the week in and out of the snow, building forts and tunnels and flinging snow with shovels. And I've spent my time heating water for hot cocoa and hanging up soggy mittens, hats, snowpants, jackets, and socks. But it's all good!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Peak at Our Week: Session 3 Week 7 - And We're Off on Vacation!

In My Life This Week
Snow. Lots and lots of snow. A part of me was hoping that spring would come early, in February, but I forgot for a sec that we're in Maine. ::wink:: Forgot? Hard to imagine, I know, but we've been down to bare ground for weeks and weeks and I got used to it. I even pulled out the hiking backpacks! What was I thinking? Anyway, we were hit with a blizzard Friday and Saturday and over 2 feet of snow piled up and blew around in frigid gusts. Our newly purchased shovels are definitely "broken in" now...and one is just plain BROKEN!

Things I Worked On
✔ Organizing Papers Into Portfolios
✔ Shoveling
✔ Planning for Session 4
 Cleaning up the Van

My Favorite Thing
Happy birthday to some GREAT kids! White Pine turned 14 and Balsam Fir turned 8 this week. Would you believe they were both due on the SAME DAY 6 years apart? 

Homeschool High School
::echo:: Very little to report this week! White Pine had a few pages to complete in his Biology Coloring Book and an Algebra test, but otherwise he had a "week of leisure" (i.e. sleeping in until lunch when I would let him)...IF you don't count the copious amounts of shoveling and cleaning up after a "hurricane" hit his bedroom. ::wink:: It all comes from 6 weeks of long, mostly focused school days and voila! his session goals were met early. 

Homeschool Elementary
In my quest to find a math program that flows well for both Balsam Fir and I, I ordered and received Math-U-See Beta and he started it this week. He flew through lesson 1 and I suspect most of Delta will be EXCELLENT review for him. We called it LEGO MATH because of the blocks! ::wink::

SM Accomplishments
The Royal Diaries: Cleopatra VII, Word Builder, Reading Comprehension, Decimals, Fractions, Percentage, Digestive System, Anglo-Saxons, Mapwork

BF Accomplishments
Flat Stanley, Target Word Wall, Writer's Notebook, Word Builder, Place Value, Addition Facts, Plant Germination, Anglo-Saxons, Mapwork

Books, Books, Books!
The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe has been a BIG hit around here! We're almost finished with it, so we'll bring along Prince Caspian on our travels next week too.

People We Saw, Places We Went
☃ Boy Scout Merit Badge College (WP)  Scouts (BF) ☃ Visit Family (All) ☃ Basketball (SM) ☃ Ice Cream Parlor  Library  Ice Skating  Clarinet/Band (SM) 

Something to Share

Thanks for stopping by Our Side of the Mountain! I'm linking up to these wonderful blog hops. Why not click over and read more homeschool happenings. And don't forget our 3rd Explorers blog hop is this Sunday!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kids in the Kitchen: Tootsie Rolls

When the 2nd round of snow arrived on Monday - Did you hear the sigh from here? ::sigh:: - and the kids were antsy for something to do (besides SHOVELING), I pulled up a simple recipe for homemade Tootsie Rolls from Food 52.

If you want to see a great photo tutorial on how to make them then I would suggest clicking over to Food52. Jugging powdered ingredients, wiggly kids and a camera doesn't work so well for me, but I did snap a few.

Homemade Tootsie Rolls 
(adapted from Food 52)

1/2 c honey
1/4 c + 2 T dark cocoa powder
1 t vanilla extract
1 T melted butter
1/4 c powdered sugar
1-1 1/4 c instant nonfat dry milk powder

Mix the honey, cocoa powder and vanilla together. Mix in the butter. Add the powdered sugar. And, slowly mix in the milk powder (in 1/4 c measures) until a stiff, not-too-sticky dough ball forms. Rest ball on "Pam" sprayed Parchment Paper for 5-10 minutes. Cut into bits, roll into "logs" and wrap in small rectangles of cut Parchment Paper. Refrigerate. Makes about 20 pieces.

Were our candies like Tootsie Rolls? Not really. ::wink:: We didn't follow the recipe exact. I only had DARK cocoa powder...and salted butter...but they were a not-too-sweet chewy chocolate candy that were tasty and didn't have HFCS in them. And creating them kept the saplings busy for an hour.

Do you cook with your kiddos? Share the fun on Tuesday with Adventurez with Kids in the Kitchen and Try a New Recipe at Home to 4 Kiddos!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Explorers Blog Hop 2: Self-Directed Survivalism

We live surrounded by evergreen and deciduous forests: fir, spruce, pine, oak, maple, beech, and birch. Trees make for such wonderful, creative play structures. And although I wasn't too too pleased seeing that Sugar Maple and Balsam Fir "tipped" (i.e. broke ends off branches) some firs to make a tee pee shelter in the middle of our yard, I was impressed with their ingenuity and and resourcefulness.

They started out by scrounging some rope from the garage and collecting fallen tree branches from the back yard. Then, using a method they watched on Netflix's "Man, Woman, Wild" they bound the branches together then flared out the ends to create a free-standing tee pee-like structure with a wide "door". 

They collected "tips" of fir trees around our property and covered their structure with boughs until few holes were visible. And finished off by gathering some granite rocks and creating a "pretend" fire pit. 

But they decided it wasn't a PROPER camp, so they made a 2nd smaller tee pee and moved the fire  pit over, building a "hanging pot holder" over it for "pretend" cooking. It's a whole tee pee "town" now!

Unfortunately I don't have many "in progress" photos to share with you as they did this early one FRIGID, but sunny morning before starting school work. While they were "tipping", I was getting the washer going, making bread, vacuuming, and feeding/watering animals. ::wink:: But they were super excited to show me their tee pee shelters, saying, "Now we can get out of the cold!"

Yeah, it's been a COLD winter! ::shiver::

Notice all the brown ground? dried brown leaves? Not anymore! On Friday we were hit with the biggest SNOWSTORM of the season. And the saplings had to get out in THAT too! But I'll share those explorations next hop! ::grin::


Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Peak at Our Week: Session 3 Week 6 - The Calm Before the Storm

In My Life This Week / Things I Worked On
✔ Organize Session 3 Papers in Portfolios
✔ Declutter the Downstairs
 Walk Every Other Day With Rosie
✔ Clean Up and Organize the Garage  

My Favorite Thing This Week
Our garage has been SERIOUSLY buggin' me. ::sigh:: With a HUGE (embarrassing) pile of trash filling up one side, and outdoor toys thrown every-which-way, and Balsam Fir getting into and not putting back our tools, and old hay scattered across the concrete, I couldn't even get the van into it! On Saturday we ALL worked together and got it cleaned up...and Mama is happier!

Homeschool High School
SOMEONE has worked diligently this session! With only 1 week to go before our vacation break, White Pine doesn't have much work to do before meeting this session's goals. His big focus this week was finishing up Biology textbook and lab work, his Cather approach paper, and doubling up some Algebra and Biology Coloring pages. Next week? A few more math lessons and coloring! I suspect he'll enjoy a few extra days of sleeping in! ::wink::

He also started playing Ultimate Frisbee. Something totally new for him and us! 

Vorpal Blade, Cather Approach Paper, Square Roots, Decimals, Additive Property of Inequality, Domain, Radical Expressions, Weighted Average, Complex Fractions, Trinomials, Probability, Pyramids/Cones, Bio Ch 20-21: Fungi/Protista, Mold Lab, Frisbee

Homeschool Elementary
Balsam Fir (finally) located a Nerf gun with foam darts from the garage, and I could (finally) make a Shooting Range Word Wall for him. I saw this idea at Life With my Giggly Girls a while back, although I can't find the exact post right now...Anyway, I wrote words that he struggles with (from his reading) onto index cards and then taped them onto closet doors. If he remembers them or can sound them out correctly, he gets to try shooting a dart at it. He thought it was my coolest idea in a while! ::wink::

I was going to wait until NEXT WEEK to start Story of the World Volume 2: Middle Ages, but the saplings didn't want to wait. How could I not start it, right?

And I took them ice skating for the first time this season. I don't enjoy ice skating so I read in the warming room around a wood stove, watching THEM through a viewing window. They had a wonderful time despite the slips-and-trips and want to go back. Fortunately it's a FREE rink (in a BARN) and has skates available. Nice!

SM Accomplishments
Creative Story (3000 words), Spelling Days ,Vitamins/Minerals, Digestive System, Fractions/Decimals, Fall of the Roman Empire

BF Accomplishments
Lionel in the Spring, Flat Stanley, Sight Word Flashcards, Writer's Notebook, Word Builder, Dollar/Coin (Count/Exchange/Change), Skeleton, Fall of the Roman Empire

Books, Books, Books!
We're reading about the "far land of Spare Oom...around the bright city of War Drobe" in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis to your kids? I'd most definitely recommend it! Both Sugar Maple and Balsam Fir give it two thumbs up! 

People We Saw, Places We Went
Cub Scout Pinewood Derby (WP/BF) Hanging Out with Buddies (WP) ☃ Scouts (WP/BF) ☃ Ultimate Frisbee (WP) ☃ Basketball (SM)  Clarinet/Band (SM) ☃ Library (SM/BF) 

Something Silly to Share

As always, thanks for stopping by Our Side of the Mountain. We're glad you came! We're linking up to these awesome blog hops this week. Why not head over, link up, or just read some more homeschooling happenings.

I also shared our Featured Feathered Friend here.

And don't forget this Sunday is our 2nd ever Explorers Blog Hop! We'd love for you to link up your outdoor adventures. Check out last week's hop here. Thank you to all those linked up last week!

Homegrown Learners Homeschool Hop Button

Cluck and Quack Happenings: Featured Feathered Friend

Tammy over at Our Neck of the Woods does a Feathered Friend Friday post each week that I've been reading. Am I the only one that enjoys reading about other people's chickens? Probably! ::grin:: But I'm OK with that! Anyway, I thought I would do some FEATURING of my own.

Meet Speckles!

Now, we don't know for sure what type of chicken Speckles is. (All our chickens are mixes.) We do know that her Dad was an Ameraucana and certainly gave her her feathery ear muffs and "beard". But we think her Mom was a White Laced Wyandotte or some other "laced" mix.

She is our Head Hen. Oftentimes she acts like a rooster, cawing whenever she senses danger to warn the others. She's always on high alert!

And she's also a little snippy at times. At least with me. I think she knows I'm REALLY the Head Hen and she doesn't always like that. But for the most part she does her peck and scratch thing and doesn't mind a little, um, holding time with the kids or I. 

History and Geography Meme 61: Sharing Resources

We're wrapping up Story of the World Volume 1 with Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome...only the Romans called him the First Citizen. We're excited to start Volume 2 and the Middle Ages which is an era that we haven't delved into much. But in the meantime, I thought I would share some of our favorite links for History and Geography resources. And if you have one, share below! Thanks!

Outline Maps - World, US, Historical, Community
Geography Games - European and US
Hippocampus HIstory - American Government and History
Sheppardsoftware - US Geography Games
Sheppardsoftware - World Geography Games
Liberty's Kids
Notebooking Pages - Look Under SOTW Resources

Sweet Phyllis has asked me to co-host the History and Geography meme with her for a bit as she goes through her cancer treatment and recovery. (To see how she's doing, visit her On the Mend blog here.) Please keep her and her wonderful family in your thoughts.

I hope that you will continue to link your new (and old) posts with any history and geography topic to this meme every Thursday. Please include this button on either the post you have linked or your sidebar or mention All Things Beautiful History and Geography meme in your post with a link. All posts that do not link directly to a history or geography post will be deleted. Remember that I am pinning all posts to Pinterest.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Explorers Blog Hop 1: Even in Rain...'s fun to get outside!

Overnight the winds blew and the rain fell in what sounded like sheets against the windows. By morning it was foggy and soggy! (Like that? ::grin::)  But it was warm, around 50 degrees, and for January in Maine that's a very nice break from the negative temperatures we've been shivering through.

At 7:30am I filled waterers, grabbed the feeder and headed out to the chicken and duck run. A swollen, bubbling brook was enough to get the ducks excitedly (and continuously) quacking. Perfect duck weather! How could I not let them out to explore? 

Then, Balsam Fir headed out because he's drawn to the water too. Nothing more exciting to an almost 8-year-old then muddy water (if you know what I mean). He traipsed through the woods surrounding the brook - I don't think his sneakers will ever be the same! ::sigh:: - and had grand plans on making a bridge. His search for discarded wood in the garage didn't turn up enough for a proper one though.

And 2 hours later, with damp hair stuck to his forehead and a soaked jacket, he rounded up the wandering flock and came put on SHORTS and a T-SHIRT. 

If you're wondering, spring has NOT arrived in Maine! On Friday we were below freezing again, but it was a nice preview of what is coming: MUD SEASON.