Thursday, March 27, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Dreaming of Spring


But I'm ready to start planning our garden and buying our seeds. I've been pondering creating another raised bed from concrete blocks. The kids have BIG gardening ambitions, but the 24x16 garden last year was a flop when we got busy with summer; we could only keep up with the 12x6 raised bed. Square Foot Gardening is much more reasonable (and enjoyable) for us.

Photo Credit

I've been knitting up dish cloths all week. They're quick, useful things! (Find instructions here.) I love the earthy colors I chose to knit them up in. I'm still pondering what to create next, but I might try a reusable mesh bag for groceries or library trips or the lake this summer. It requires CROCHETING and I haven't attempted that. You Tube!

Total Bag Count: 6

I'm about 14 bags behind on the Declutter Challenge. In my defense, I did start a year ago throwing out and donating unused items, and it's really just too cold to tackle the garage which REALLY needs a purge-and-organize.

Photo Credit

✿ Scrambled Eggs with Broccoli and Jack Cheese & Blueberry Pancakes with Maple Syrup ✿
✿ Beef Au Jus Sandwiches on Homemade Herbed Bread & Steamed Carrots and Peaches ✿
✿ Cheese Pizza & Fresh Strawberries ✿
✿ Chicken Cordon Bleu & Herbed Biscuits and Peas ✿

Sam has discovered that reading isn't so bad! He's rereading the Flat Stanley series, but I'm just pleased as punch that he seems to be ENJOYING it! He's moving along in Horizons Math 2, working on his understanding of place value, time and regrouping.  We started body systems in Life Science this week.

Cati is reluctantly continuing her Daily Grams. She's finding the whole thing monotonous and boring so I'm tempted to drop it, but she doesn't want to BEGIN anything else. It's too early in the year to discontinue a whole subject! She's already completed her year of Life Science and is almost there with Saxon Math 76. 

They watched vidoes on the 1870-1900s in American History, learning about economic changes and social upheaval during the 'Gilded Age' and Teddy Rooveselt, and solved some mysteries in Art Fraud Detective: Spot the Difference, Solve the Crime!, studying paintings by Pieter de Hooch, Hendrick ter Brugghen and Marinus van Reymerswaele.

In STEM school, Jake printed out his finished 3D plans for a steam-powered 'power plant' (to run a Lego train set), solved quadratic equations, learned quantum physics, and continued his (mostly) winning streak in Chess.

Mom - The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin & Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters
Cati - The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Sam - Flat Stanley & Invisible Stanley by Jeff Brown

✿ Concert Band & Clarinet Lesson (Cati) ✿ 
✿ Boy, Girl & Cub Scouts (All) ✿  
✿  Garage & Dunkin Donuts ✿ 

I have this big, old TV in my bedroom. Would you believe that with the proper connections the XBOX will connect to it and play my "Big Bang Theory" DVDs? The kiddos aren't thrilled with my 'borrowing' the XBOX though.

Photo Credit

As always, special thanks to these weekly wrap-ups:
 photo 337a3ef2-b881-48f4-8a2c-9c69e457cb5b_zps8b6152cf.pngHomegrown LearnersHighhill HomeschoolManaging Your BlessingsHip Homeschool Moms

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: One Step at a Time

Cabin Fever. :sigh:

With winter lingering on, I couldn't wait to get outside anymore. I downloaded this awesome app for my Smartphone called Runkeeper. It uses GPS to map where and distance, and includes pace and an estimation of how many calories burned. I logged in 6.08 miles of walking the last 1 1/2 weeks. Considering I had to deal with an achy leg due to neurological testing, icy roads, and messy weather, I'm happy with that. I even dragged the kids and dogs along! Seeing those miles add up is a great incentive!

Have you read The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin? Awesome!

School Snippets
  • Jake is building a steam-powered 'power plant' that will run a Lego train, gave a presentation in Social Studies, and is studying Mars for another oral and computer presentation
  • Cati and Sam studied Quinten Massys and Raphael in Art Fraud Detectives: Spot the Differences, Solve the Crime!
  • Both went swimming (in a heated pool)
  • Cati played clarinet in a band concert
  • Cati read The Fellowship of the Ring, and Sam read The Magic Finger and started Flat Stanley (again)
  • Cati wrote terse verses for poetry and worked on her collection of inspirational sayings 
  • Sam spend HOURS building and redesigning a Lego boat, then added a Technics motor and made it RC, and tested it in the bathtub for speed and maneuverability 
  • Sam worked on time (minutes), fact families, place value, and word problems  

Cati and I finished our 2nd knitted scarves. What do you think?

She started another scarf, peach and cream striped this time, and I'm going to make some dishclothes. I'm using this You Tube video tutorial for the dishclothes. Again, for beginners.

I've joined a decluttering challenge called "40 Bags in 40 Days" here. She has some useful printables if you're up for some simplifying. I'm not sure I'll get to 40 bags as I've been doing this for a year, but there's always stuff that can go, right? TBC (Total Bag Count): 3

Instead of buying pre-packaged bars for my oldest son's school snacks, I made Jordan Marsh Muffins this week. You can find the recipe here at I made blueberry, raspberry and strawberry muffins from berries we or my Mom picked last season and froze, and omitted the sprinkle of sugar on top. Perfect for snacking!

Photo Credit

As always, special thanks to these weekly wrap-ups:
 photo 337a3ef2-b881-48f4-8a2c-9c69e457cb5b_zps8b6152cf.pngHomegrown Learners 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Fazzled and Fried, But Plodding Creatively On

Life. It keeps this Mama busy...and away from her blog for a few months. That, and I fried the motherboard on my trusty laptop. :sigh:  I'm 'around', doing all those everyday oh-so-important activities that keep kids happy, healthy and learning, a home running (almost) smoothly, and a Mama (ME!) sane and grounded.

Despite ushering in 2014 with an icky "belly bug", my hope is that 2014 will be a year of strengthened family connections, new adventures and friends, and lots of silliness. Because silliness IS really, really important. I know I'm a little behind on New Year's resolutions, but there you go.

We're back at school, very much easing into the last half of our year. Some mornings are pretty darn rough getting up! Fortunately, at least for my homeschoolers, fuzzy PJs are acceptable school uniforms. For Mama, too!

Unfortunately Jake must still get dressed and head off to school (which means I have to tumble out of bed and get him to the bus stop even if I'm still in those PJs), but it continues to be so worth it for him!

Snippets from his Quarter Thus Far:
  • made a speaker with a piece of metal taped over a paper cup• 
  • made a battery using a zinc- and copper-covered nails and a lemon 
  • made a lever to lift 9oz of water with 3oz of water using mechanical advantage 
  • started exploring Trigonometry 
  • started looking at different telescopes for Astronomy 
  • learned the constellations and zodiac 
  • explored electricity principles

Cati has finished her Life Science for the year! Go, C! She's 30 or so lessons from completing Math, but she's hit the part in the text that is more challenging and has slowed down. And there's her Easy Grammar, Spelling Power, Poetry unit, and American History that she's still plugging away at. What's wonderful is that her attitude towards school is much improved this year! I just wish it would rub off on her younger brother... he's prodding through his short, "core only" days with a chip on his shoulder. :sigh: Isn't there always one? (or is it just in my homeschool?)

Snippets from Homeschooling
  • read The Hobbit and watched the movie
  • had Jazz and Concert band practice
  • wrote a Limerick
  • learned to commute equivalent fractions, used a compass, found Pi, completed ratio word problems, found the perimeter of complex shapes, and solved proportion problems
  • knitted a scarf
  • started reading the My Weird School series with Ms. Todd is Odd!
  • reviewed time, multiple digit addition with regrouping, worked on skip counting 7s and 8s
  • learned articles and antonyms and reviewed capitalization, punctuation, sentence combining, verbs, and adjectives
  • reviewed address, months and days
  • completed a notebook page on food chains, consumers and producers and herbivores, carnivores and omnivores
  • built a RC truck from a Lego Technic kit

Have you see those plastic band Rainbow Loom bracelets? The band bracelet CRAZE has descended upon our house! (Shhh! I'll admit it; I made one...or two...OK, 3.) Check out Ashley and Steph's You Tube videos here for good tutorials (especially if you're like us and get TOTALLY lost trying to follow the instructions included in the kit). We've run out of bands, but I've got some waiting on my Amazon cart.

I've been learning something new, too! To knit! My Mom taught me a weave or box-knit pattern and I created my first scarf in "ocean" blues and greens (that Cati and Sam are claiming ownership to). I've started a sparkly white cell pattern scarf for myself. I'll share a photo with you next time, when I have a little more to show. I'm hoping to have it completed winter. ::wink::

Oh, and if you want to see the video How To and make your very own cell pattern scarf, watch this! Trust me - it's for beginners!

All this crafting and schooling doesn't leave much time for cooking. Perhaps next week I'll have a recipe to share with you. Did you create anything amazing in the kitchen this past week?

 As always, special thanks to these weekly wrap-ups:
 photo 337a3ef2-b881-48f4-8a2c-9c69e457cb5b_zps8b6152cf.pngHomegrown Learners