Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Homeschool Mother's Journal: The One That Starts Bi-Weekly Wraps

In My Life This Week
I decided to start doing these wrap-ups every other week until fall. It's SUMMER, right? Although I do LOVE these, I also love spending LONG days at the lake with the kids, picnicking, kayaking, swimming, reading. So, that's where you'll find us. :wink:

On this day at the lake, Cati found a friend to hang out with...and to cover a BROTHER up with sand. And Sam used his slip-ons as BOATS. Imagination!

And Grandpa and Nannie Lobster drove down for a visit and got right to work on some household repairs. I'm not very handy with a saw or drill. They fixed up our broken kitchen drawers and painted.

Things I Worked On
The entry closet! Although you REALLY can't see a HUGE difference, I removed 2 STUFFED trash bags of, well, trash, and another 2 of donates, and then organized everything. There's NOTHING on the top shelf now. Wonder what I'll store there? 

My boys have A LOT of hair. Serious hair. Giving them summer "buzzes" are a PROCESS. Sam finds the vibrations from the trimmer uncomfortable, painful even, due to his sensory challenges. The mention of a hair cut, well, sends him into a "tizzy". But we got through it! Phew! Can you feel the LOVE from my boys in these before-and-afters? :wink:

Homeschool Happenings
Sam spent COPIOUS amounts of time building with Legos. Whole afternoons just spent creating, quietly, intently. His spatial skills AMAZE me! (Click on the link below to see my post on his camper.)

We signed up for the summer reading program at the library. Woot! For the first time they have an ADULT program too, and I can't wait!

We watched "Parental Control", "RV" and "Life of Pi" from Netflix. Are we the only ones that don't like "Life of Pi"?

With the help of Nannie Lobster, Cati painted her room. Out with the pink, in with the yellow! She's growing up. :sniff: :sniff: She learned to spackle and repair walls, "cut in" with paint, and use a paint roller (without dripping it all over the floor). I'm going to surprise her with a new comforter set when she comes back from visiting family.

We went strawberry picking. 30 pounds of strawberries! That night we had strawberry shortcake for dinner. :wink:

And Cati had her softball championship game. They lost 10-11, but it was a GREAT game. Considering the other team beat ours by a lot ALL season, the girls didn't make it easy for them in the final. Poor Cate got hit by the ball though.

I suppose all this isn't very "school like", huh? :wink: But most CERTAINLY some valuable life skills.

Helpful Homeschool Hints
FREE! World's Greatest Artists Volume 1 PDF download from Confessions of a Homeschooler
FREE! Fascinating Science e-Book from I Can Teach My Child (requires e-mail subscription)

Places We Went, People We Saw
• Boy Scout Court of Honor Banquet (All)  Doctor/Lab (Me) • Softball (All) • Friends - S__ with E__ and N__, S with A__ and J__, and D__ • Grandpa and Nannie Lobster (All) • Boy Scout Yard Sale Fundraiser (J)  Lake (All) • Strawberry Picking (All) 

Something to Share

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As ALWAYS, linking up to these WONDERFUL blogs:
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sam's Dream in Legos: RVing

Sam and I have a DREAM to explore the U.S. in an RV. We can't think a better way to REALLY see and EXPERIENCE our country than hopping in a camper and cruising. The open road, the natural world and a simple life call us!

We even decided on the RV we'd want (if the MONEY TREE ever starts growing :wink:).

All this dreaming inspired Sam to create a camper out of Legos. His spatial skills and attention to detail are amazing!

Since our DREAM RV has a slide-out, well, his Lego camper had to have one too. His original design had 1. I mentioned that 2 would give the camper more room, but I didn't think it would be possible to build a Lego RV with 2. Sam pondered for a bit, disappeared, and came back, having rebuilt the body with 2 MOVEABLE slide-outs.

"Mom, see! I can build it with 2 slide-outs!"

But the details didn't stop there! He created "chassis" storage, a driver's "cockpit", a propane tank area, and a "tow package" since we'd need to pull a small car while we travel to visit all those cool spots near the campgrounds.

And even inside the camper there was a steering wheel, sofa and bed!

Sam decided those that it would be REALLY awesome for his Lego RV to pull a TRAVEL TRAILER CAMPER too. You never know when family and friends want to come along too, right?

All this building and creativity has a downside though...

Perhaps his next building inspiration should be a BULLDOZER. :wink:

I'm linking this post up to Thrilling Thursday at The Family Blog. Nothing more THRILLING that watching delight-directed learning at its best. What's THRILLED you this week? Head on over and link up!

Also linking up with:
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Monday, June 17, 2013

As the Garden Grows AND Clucks and Quacks: Swinging, Spuds and Sassiness

Wanna see my FAVORITE part of the garden?

It's our hammock. It spans between 2 mossy Maples near our bubbling brook. (Like those aliterations? :grin:) It's a perfectly dapple-shaded area for MOM TIME, even with the kids nearby. 

Shh! Sometimes I even go out on breezier days (so those darn 'quitoes aren't so bad) and a cozy blanket and take a snooze. Do you suppose the kids think I'm weird? :wink:


So, the garden is growing. The Kennebec white potatoes are growing like WEEDS now that they've popped up through the soil. The spuds left in the dark, dry utility room sprouted more eyes so Jake planted those in one of the raised beds by the gone-by asparagus. 

Did you know that you're not supposed to cut back the asparagus until SPRING? I asked my friend Susan from Itsy Bitsy Farm for help. (You can find her here on Facebook too. You should check her out! She grows LOADS of veggies in raised beds on only 1/8th of an acre.) She's my 'gus go-to person. (Jake DID tell me that I couldn't cut them now, but...Yes, he was right again. :sigh:) The asparagus is like a mini forest!

The beans are almost flowering. It won't be long now before we're snacking on them. And the snow peas are climbing up the TREE TRELLISES. 

Tip: If you've got trees surrounding your yard, send the kids out in search of small downed limbs with multiple branches. Stick these limbs into the soil for climbing plants. No need for metal cages!

I'm happy to report that Ms. Sassy is doing well. Did I share that she had an impacted crop this spring? and that I had to give her veggie oil and massaged her crop several times a day to help her muscles break it down? She was able to pass the blockage after a week, but unfortunately damage has been done to her crop and she has "pendulous crop", her crop is distended from weak muscles and she is more apt to get another blockage. But, she's QUITE "clucky" now!

Cati and I have HIGH HOPES that a flower will FINALLY bloom in her flower garden. She's had some Bleeding Hearts, but the one peony bud dried up and fell off. :sigh: 

Does anyone have any idea what kind of FLOWER PLANT it is? :wink:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Super Sweet Blogging Award: How Sweet It Is

Carissa from All Day Mom nominated me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award, the first for my new home here on the blogosphere. It's ALWAYS fun to be nominated (and answer those silly questions that go along with blog awards).

Don't those cupcakes look PRETTY? Wonder if someone ACTUALLY made them for this photo? Anyway...

Super Sweet Questionaire

1. Cookies or cake? both?
Hmm...I do like a good Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie.

2. Chocolate or vanilla?
Ha! CHOCOLATE! Vanilla? Meh.

3. Favorite Sweet Treat?
A bar of dark chocolate...that I don't have to share. :wink:

4. When do you crave sweet treats the most?
When I shouldn't have them?

5. Sweet nickname?
When my Sam was a toddler, he never called me "Mom". He called me "Honey". Very sweet! But then he get to preschool age and out went "Honey".

So, now I have to nominate 13 other bloggers to receive this award and share their SWEET answers. There's LOADS of GREAT bloggers out there (and I probably spend way too much time reading their posts :wink:), but I just RANDOMLY chose my SWEET 13. Here you go!

2. Lucinda from Navigating by Joy
3. Cheryl from Cheryl L. Pitt
4. Ren from The Family Blog
6. Tammy from Our Neck of the Woods
7. Fiona from Finding Fifth
10. Tina from September
13. Karen at Homeschool Girls

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Homeschool Mother's Journal: The One With Drastic Measures and a Fluffed Turkey

In My Life This Week
I couldn't face another sink full of not-so-dirty cups and took DRASTIC MEASURESAre my kids the only ones who need a new cup EVERY time they get a drink? even if it's water? :sigh: I removed our usual tableware and replaced them with LABELLED ones from our camping set. Everyone is responsible for washing his or her things after using them. MUCH MUCH BETTER! I'm not running the dishwasher every day JUST for cups! (And Mama knows exactly who's leaving their cups in the livingroom...)

What I'm Working On
Inspired by Chris at Tales of a House Husband, I decided to pick an area in the house that needed attention. You know - a good ol' declutter and organize. I've been making GREAT progress this year, but I thought sharing with you all would keep my motivation UP. This week I worked on the office area in an alcove between the foyer and kitchen. Next up? The entry closet!

What I'm Cooking
Oh, blueberry! This is THE best fresh berry cake around! Moist, tangy, sweet, perfect! The original recipe at A Spicy Perspective called for strawberries (which we also tried), but our wild Maine blueberries were even better.

Homeschool Happenings
Don't you love the phrase DELIGHT DIRECTED LEARNING? It's such a WONDERFUL image of learning! With summer almost in full swing here - we have ONE MORE WEEK of scheduled spring activities - our days are our own, filled with whatever "floats our boats". Our learning is only limited by our imaginations...and maybe by ::ahem:: TV. (I'll admit I've gotten a bit lax about "screen time".)

Despite the threat of rainy weather, we meandered around the Maine Wildlife Park. The MWP rehabilitates native animals, releasing them back into the wild if possible. We saw moose, black bear, bobcats, ring-necked pheasants, turkey vultures, ravens, owls, bald and golden eagles, and lynx, but our favorites were the BEAUTIFUL male peacocks and a wild turkey. That turkey! So not a pretty bird, but VERY INTERESTING. He kept fluffing up those feathers to warn us of his displeasure.

I know - the photos aren't all that spectacular. My DSLR's battery died soon after arriving so I used Jake's "fancy" iPhone, and, well, it's not very good. Or maybe it's the USER? :wink: What you're missing from my photos is the WILD TURKEY'S FACE. You gotta see that! It's the, um, interesting part. Handsome, huh? :snicker:

Photo Credit

Not everything was delight directed though. Just ask Sam. We've been working on his sound blends with Hooked on Phonics, and, honestly, it's not the most exciting way to read, but it seems to help him. I would SO MUCH RATHER he read books from the library, but they aren't giving him the CONTROLLED VOCAB that he needs to practice particular blends. Perhaps his A-HA MOMENT will come SOON and we can get back to the more fun books. But I do try to make it as ENJOYABLE as possible for him...

I also pulled out the ICE CREAM REWARDS PRINTABLE from last summer and have been encouraging the kids to fill them out. Each 30 minutes of reading or a math lesson counts and a square is X'ed out. When it's full, it's off to the ice cream parlor for a sundae. You can find the FREE printable from iMom here.

Places We're Going, People We're Seeing
• Maine Wildlife Park (All) • Scouts (J/C) • Softball (C/S) • Portland Seadogs (S/C) • Clarinet (C) •

My Favorite Thing
Sam has little dimples that I find SUPER DUPER cute (even when he's making faces at the camera).

Something to Share
Yeah, the 'quitoes are out in full force these days. :itch itch: Hopefully they won't carry us off this season.

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