October 31, 2005

Horse Riding

Yesterday I went on a special date with my grandma. I got to go horse riding. I got to go through a walk, to a trot, to a canter, to a light run. I did a few jumps. I had ALOT of fun. I got to see a pony, got to ride a horse. I got to see a few goats. I saw a baby goat jump up on a tire. It was a fun date with my grandma. I wish you could have been there too.

There were two horses. One was named Country Rider and was a girl. There was also a boy. I rode Country Rider. She was very gentle. She let me get up on her back without taking off. I rode her all around the field.

I learned a few things. I learned that you don't usually use the reigns because it could make the horse mad. What I learned is that you use the reigns when you lean forward so your face is almost to the horse's mane and pull back on the reigns. It makes the horse go in circles. Horses don't like to go in circles, so it will stop.

Another thing I learned is that if you put your foot near the pony's rear it is the gas pump and that means "Speed Up Girl". You keep your foot in the front. It is very important to know how to ride a horse.

I'm very thankful for grandma and her friend who let me ride her horses.

By Rhiannon

Adventuresome Aussies

Our two Australian Shepherds were staying with kind friends while we are on our vacation. Yesterday morning they took off running from their yard. The family spent most of the day looking for them and in contact with animal control units. We were all in prayer. There was a spotting of them but we all went to bed with no information.

Praise God! This morning we awoke to great news that they had returned themselves in the middle of the night. Our friends left food out and their garage open and our wandering explorers returned. It was an emotionally draining day for everyone involved. Thank the Lord for a happy ending.

Too bad the dogs can't write a book about their adventures, might make for an interesting blog post.


October 29, 2005

Mountain Climbing

Today we took a fall hike through the woods and up a small mountain in Maine. We hiked up French's Mountain. The kids all made it up to the top, it was a nice hike. A bit wet, a bit muddy but definately manageable. Even Sirah was able to hike all the way to the top with the assistance of holding Grandma's hand of course.

I was a bit nervous at the top with three young kids. Sirah (age 2) and Ciaran (age 4) needed to be held onto and did not wish to be held. The view was nice, especially for the ease of the climb we did.

Here is a small image of it

It is days like today that I am thankful for how often our kids are outside hiking. While we are not often able to hike up hills or mountains we do hike for good distances with the kids. They have made up to a five mile hike this summer. They enjoy being outside.

Ciaran true to form was able to find a little critter, a grub or worm of some sort at the top. Rhia and Ciaran collected leaves and Sirah got to ride the whole way down on daddy's back in her sling while her cousin (10 months old) was carried by his mom the whole time in his Baby Bjorn.

It was a nice way to spend a cool and crisp fall day. The vacation is going very well here. We are making the best of the cold weather and the kids enjoyed being able to throw their first snowballs with the little snow we discovered along the mountain path today.

Get out there and enjoy those last few days of fall before the cold settles in and the snow falls down. It is coming sooner than you think, unless of course you are already experiencing it.


October 26, 2005

Augusta Children's Museum

Today we spent most of the afternoon in a nice children's museum in Augusta Maine. We did not know what to expect but were pleasantly surprised. We spent several hours there doing a variety of hands on play activities. We began upstairs where the kids played in a sandbox, climbed on a tractor, built things, played on a slide, read books, did puzzles, played games and a variety of other things.

Then we moved downstairs to what we discovered was the majority of the museum. The kids put on a show, Serona even treated us to a puppet show about a fox and a mouse. We went grocery shopping, ran a post office, served us a meal at a dinner and played with the other exhibits.

Overall the kids had a great time and it was a fun family day. We had lunch at a nearby cafe that even had good vegetarian options for us. If you are ever in the area and have small children I recommend the Augusta Discovery Museum. It was a good value for the money.


October 24, 2005


Thank you for reading. This week this website has crossed the 100,000 hit mark! I am amazed every day. Thank you for all your support during the past two years I have been blogging.


October Reading List

Hop Jump - Walsh, Ellen Stoll
You can name 100 Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Animals - Chewning, Randy
Hands Down Counting by 5's - Dahl, Muchael
Curious George Flies a Kite - Rey, HA
Learn Your Numbers - Sparkle Book
One Fish, Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish - Dr Suess
Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings - Fleet, Matthew Van
Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See - Martin Jr, Bill and Eric Carle
My Little Book of Birds - Ingoglia, Gina
Quick as a Cricket - Wood, Audrey

Ballerina Bear - Siewert, Pauline
Miss Spiders Tea Party - Kirk, David
Percival the Beautiful Butterfly - Turner, Jill
Touch and Feel Bible Stories - Larson, Beverly
I Can Play Soccer - Eckart, Edana
Going to the Library - Radabaugh, Meinda
Little Fish Lost - Laan, Nancy Van
Llamas - Patent, Dorothy
Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! - Fleming, Candace - fun!
Ruby's wish - Bridges, Shirin

All the Way to Lhasa: A Tale From Tibet - Berger, Barbara
In the Country Night - Rylant, Cunthia
I Love You Little One - Tafuri, Nancy
Dogs: A Pet's Life - ASPCA
Jesse Bear What Will You Wear - Carlstrom, Nancy White
Farmer Will - Cowen-Fletcher, Jane
That's My Dog - Walton, Rick
Bread and Jam for Frances - Hoban, Russell
Gossie - Dunrea, Olivier
Gossie and Gertie - Dunrea, Olivier

Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear - Wood, Audrey
Big Red Barn - Brown, Margaret Wise
Oso pardo, Oso pardo? que ves ahi - Carle, Eric
Where do Frogs Come From - Vern Alex
Are you a Frog - Cassettari, Noeline
Kisses - Szekeres, Cyndy
Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings - Van Fleet, Matthew
Ten Little Monkeys - Dalby, Danny
Giggle Giggle Quack - Cronin, Doreen
Icky Sticky Frog, The - Bentley, Daawn

Company's Going - Yorinks, Arthur
Ten Little Ladybugs - Gerth, Melanie
Hoppameleon, The - Geraghty, Paul
A You're Adorable - Alexander, Martha
Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon - Lovell, Patty
You Are Special - Lucado, Max
Sailor Moo - Wheeler, Lisa
God Made All the Colors
Quick as a Cricket - Wood, Audrey
Just the Way You Are - Lucado, Max

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble - Steig, William
The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Carle, Eric
Blueberry Show - Dixon, Ann

Rhiannon Reads
Little Bo - Andrews, Julie
Calling Doctor Amelia Bedelia - Parish, Herman
Jumanji - Allsburg, Chris Van
Changes for Kirsten - Shaw, Janet
Zathura - Alssburg, Chris Van
On the Banks of Plum Creek - wilder, Laura Ingalls
Buzz Buzz Buzz - Uribe, Veronica
Quack Daisy Quack - Simmons, Jane
Imogen's Antlers - Small, David
Lyle at Christmas - Weber, Bernard

Rules for Young Friends - Harris, Greg and Joshua
God Made All the Colors - Lion Publishing
My Little People School Bus - Fischer Price
Ten Apples Up on Top - Dr Duess
I Spy Raggedy Ann and Andy - Hall, Patricia
Mouse and the Motorcycle - Cleary, Beverly

Last Updated October 24, 2005

October 19, 2005

Much Needed Vacation

We will be headed on a family vacation. The first long one in years. I will update from the road from time to time. Back to packing and laundry now.


October 18, 2005

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World Lesson Plan

My turn to teach for our preschool coop. I chose the book "How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World" by Marjorie Priceman. While putting together my lesson plan for the book I had a lot of fun and thought I would share my ideas. This was geared for 4 years olds but could easily be adapted from 3-7 I think. If you have not read the book, you should it is fun and very rich in detail yet still simple and easy for the littlest ones to stick with and follow. As I type this Sirah is flipping through the book pointing at the pictures and telling me her story.

1. Read the story and travel the world all around.

Set up several rooms or locations to represent each area visited in the book. Do this ahead of time with as much or as little detail as you would like.

As you visit each location have the kids collect their item in their own paper bags (suitcases). If you have more realistic items use them, I photocopied pictures from the book for them to place in their brown paper bags.

At the end kids can use photocopies and glue them onto map to show where each item came from.

Below is listed additional ideas for each location. I placed post it notes in the book with the following notes so I had it as I read the book. I can take the note out and glance at it each page I read but the kids dont see the note so they still see the picture. This saves me having to have another sheet I go back and forth between.

Boat Location - practice Italian

Hello - Ciao
Goodbye - Arrivederci
Apple - Mela


Collect the semolina wheat - an armful
Scoop up an armful

Collect the Egg or Chicken
Pretend to chase a chicken to catch

Sri Lanka
Cinnamon From the Bark of the Kurundu Tree
Practice saying Kurundu
Feel bark of a tree
Smell Cinnamon


Bring the cow
Talk about the importance of good manners

Boat to Jamaica

Collect Saltwater
Let kids taste saltwater and talk about how our water is fresh not salt

Introduce yourself to each other - have them say hello to two kids next to them and share their names
Practice cutting down the sugar cane

Fly back towards class
Have them flap wings and move toward class
Ask them if they have everything and see if they remember the apples
Change direction and head to Vermont


Pick apples - show proper way to pick an apple. Lift up, turn ently against stalk then pull
Have each child pick up eight apples they have them give one to each teacher (chicken and cow) and pretend to eat one themselves. Later teachers can place remaining apples in their bags.

At Home

Act out actions of pie making - talk about them as appropriate

Grind Kurundu to Cinamon
Persuade the Chicken to lay egg
Milk the Cow
Churn the milk to butter
Slice Apples
Mixes the Pie
Bake the Pie

Getting ready to eat the pie, invite friends and all sit at the table awaiting your pie. Help serve if appropriate.

On last page of book trace with your finger along the map (on inside cover of book) the route you took around the world.

3. Eating the Pie
Eat an already made pie or make one if you are at your own home.

4. Bible Leesson - Fruit of the Spirit

While eating the pie talk about bible lesson - Fruit of the Spirit
Hand out Fruit of the Spirit Coloring Page as kids finish eating

Read this story - or a more age appropriate one. I adapted this from one found at DlTK Kids.

Fruit of the Spirit Lesson Plan
Today we talked about one kind of fruit apples. We also talked about many good things that were collected to make this delicious apple pie. All good things come from our God. God also gives us some special gifts that the God calls fruit of the spirit

When we ask Jesus to live in us his Spirit stays with us and He will give us some of this special fruit. As we grow and learn more about Jesus, the Spirit will give
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. All of these fruits are good to have and the Spirit wants to give them to us.

God wants us to try to be good and have the fruit of the spirit in us. We can try to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control but the Spirit will give us the kind of gifts he wants us to have. It's hard to do it on our own, we need the Spirit to help us with each of these things.

IF THEIR ATTENTION IS SHORT STOP HERE _ Otherwise go on to explain the fruits.

Just in case you don't know what each of the fruit of the spirit means I'm going to try to explain them. I think the easiest fruit of the spirit to explain is love. Think of someone that loves you no matter what. You can make mistakes and it doesn't matter what you look like, but they still love you. God loves us too, no matter what, he even loves you more than your parents! He can help us love others the way we should.

The next fruit is joy. Joy is like being very, very happy, it's being happy inside even when things aren't going great. Again, we can try to be joyful but only God can give us the kind of happiness that makes us joyful, we can't just be joyful on our own.

When we think of peace, we usually think of no more fighting. That is right, but the peace of the spirit is a bit different. This is the peace we get when we get to know God really well (by reading the Bible, praying, asking questions, etc). If we have this peace we will feel a calmness inside and know that all our sins are confessed and that God forgives us.

Patience is the next one and I'm sure we know what this means. Have you ever been told to have patience? The patience God is talking about is for those little things like waiting to open your Christmas presents or being patient to go to the park. But it also means to be patient for answers to prayer that might take years to be answered.

Next is kindness and it should be easy although sometimes it's not. Is it easy to be kind to someone who has been mean to? When God gives us this gift, its more than just being kind to others. He might help us be kind to someone who really needs it and we're not even aware of it. For example, maybe you feel like you should write a letter or call a grandparent. God might be urging you to do that because they are having a bad day and that's exactly what they need to cheer them up. Sometimes your kind deed to someone else is all they need to remember that someone special loves them.

Being good or goodness is the next fruit of the spirit. Having the gift of goodness means God can depend on me to be honest, repent of my sins, and turn away from bad things. We also need to try to act this way towards others through our actions so they can see the fruit in us. The only true goodness we have is the goodness of God living in us.

Faithfulness is next and this one might be a little trickier to understand. Being faithful is keeping your promises, being a loyal friend even when times get tough, being trustworthy and doing the things you said you would do. When I think of faithfulness I think of my grandma who prayed for me every single day of her life. She was faithful in praying for me, which also meant that she prayed everyday.
When I think of gentleness I think of holding a brand new baby. For some reason we think they might break if we don't hold them so carefully. The kind of gentleness God is talking about is similar to this. No matter what situation comes up we are supposed to be gentle. That doesn't mean we shouldn't stick up for ourselves, if someone is doing something you know is wrong you should still tell an adult or tell them to stop. Just do it in a gentle way like Jesus would do it.

The last fruit is self control and is a very important one, it means to be in control of what we say and do. Without self control we can't do the things we should. To be able to live the way God wants we have to be in control of the things we do. Just like when a brother or sister bugs you so much you just want to hit them, we know that we have to control ourselves and not hit them. We know we just can't do whatever we feel like sometimes because its not right and we'd be punished.
Just remember that with all these gifts we need help from God to be able to use the gifts properly. We need to remember that God made us and he is perfect. If you want the fruit of the spirit first you need to ask God to live in you, and then the more you get to know him the more fruit or gifts he will help you have.

4. Way Up High in the Apple Tree Song - Music

The Apple Tree - poem
Way up high in the apple tree. (point up)
Two little apples smiled at me. (close thumb & forefinger of each hand to make an apple)
I shook that tree as hard as I could (grab pretend tree & shake)
Down fell the apples (raise hands & let fall)
MMMMMM, were they good! (mimic eating apple)

6. Paint Their Paper Bags With an Apple Tree

Fingerprint Apple or Cherry Tree

Stamp the side of your hand in brown paint and stamp it on the paper as the trunk
Stamp your index finger in green paint and stamp it many times on the paper for the leaves (re-dipping in the paint as necessary)
Stamp your pinkie finger in red paint and stamp it lightly on the paper for the apples (light stamps make rounder prints)

Idea found at DLTK Kids.

6.Apple Cutouts - use from their bags (collected in Vermont)
I used the apple template from Enchanted Learning because it was the size I was looking for many others also available online.

Use Apples for Counting, Subtraction, Addition or Matching (make them different colors for matching).

7. Mapwork
Paste all the little pictures to a world map. Or alternately draw the route you took from country to country on a world map.

Here is the cutouts we used (reduced pictures from the book). The rights to these still belong to the author and publisher of the book. I just am offering what we used for personal use here.

Of course you can also visit an apple orchard sometime. Have fun. I know we will.


A cup of tea

When the world is all at odds
And the mind is all at sea
Then cease the useless tedium
And brew a cup of tea.
There is magic in its' fragrance,
There is solace in its' taste;
And the laden moments vanish
Somehow into space.
And the world becomes a lovely thing!
There's beauty as you'll see;
All because you briefly stopped
To brew a cup of tea.

_Taken from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Teatime Tales and Rhymes

October 13, 2005

Pyramids and Towers

This week we have been focusing on construction I suppose. Our bible story and discussions have centered around the Tower of Babel and our history lessons around the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx.

We used block to build the Tower of Babel and we worked together and then spoke different language to try to complete it. Ciaran and Sirah especially liked when I just babbled and made up crazy noises. Rhiannon was much more upset that it was not "real" and only wanted to participate when we were using other real languages. The tower fell and we talked about the lesson.

We also made a the great pyramid and the Sphinx out of legos. Then made all three pyramids out of legos and took pictures. Rhia had fun doing this activity. We also tried a game of making pyramids online at BBC Ancients. They also have several other games and interactive items about Egypt and the Pyramids. We spent some time on this site together.

She did a dot to dot of the Sphinx and a word search on the Tower of Babel. We have had fun learning about how things are constructed and how involved the proccess is. From the types of items used to construct it, the people who construct it, the importance of a shared language and good communication and all the intricate details that go into making a project work.


October 11, 2005

Children's Bible Study

This is an excellent free premade curriculum and activities for many of the major bible stories. It can range in age to cover preschool through early elementary maybe 3rd gradish? You can even ask for a free CD Rom of the Curriculum. We have used many of the lessons and I highly recommend it. Check out Calvary Chapel.


October 10, 2005

Accidental Unit Studies

OK we do unit studies more often then I say we do. Yet to my defense I often don't realize we are doing them until we are done with them, or sometimes right in the middle. They are rarely planned, rather they are spur of the moment unit studies that I plan on the fly so I don't think of them that way. Still at the end of the week if I put it all together - it was a unit study.

Take last week. Unit study - Floods. Not intentional but it turned out that way. Monday morning we read Noah's Ark. Kids watch a video where kids build an ark out of cardboard boxes. Weak mom says "I don't see why not" when kids ask her why they can't built one. Same weak mom heads to grocery stores to collect dozens of banana boxes and invites 13 kids and three parents to assit with building of said ark. Ark is constructed in the garage on coldest day of the year so far, it is still standing, the paint will eventually wear off the floor! Continue reading down a few posts for pictures and more details.

In history we learned about the Nile and how it flooded. We decided to create a model of the Nile. We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of flooding and how they planned for it. Science time, Rhiannon gets to pick the book, she of course picks up one on floods (absolutely no prompting by me). Then we read two others with sections on flooding. We head over to google to look at pictures of floods, play flood related games and learn more details about floods.

Same day it happens we received record rainfall and the pond near our house was flooded into the field. Weak mom puts on mud boots and dirty clothes (we lost two outfits this week - one to paint and one to flood and mud - note to self use same outfit next time) and lets children walk to the top of their boots, which of course turns into much more and they come home wet, muddy and covered in duck weed. But they had a realistic example of what walking through flood water could be like and a great time. They also got to say my mom let me paint the garage floor and get myself soaked in duckweed and mud! How many other kids can in the same week.

For math we found a word problem game about flood waters. We talked about areas near us that could flood and why so many people were safe during Katrina, even though they lost their homes. We learn a bit about our weather system and home construction. We talk about sandbags and how they can be used to protect homes and are used along the Mississippi. Saturday afternoon walk with Dad and we see sandbags along the shoreline of a nearby lake and a bridge and pathway covered in floodwaters and closed off.

I would love to be able to say I planned that stellar lesson plan with all the hands on activities, lessons, resources and everything ahead of time. But I did not. God worked and we responded. I could not have made it rain the week we studied floods. I did not even plan it around the weather that was scheduled. I could not have made Rhia pick that for science. I would not have thought ahead to the connection of our bible and history stories this week. I did not even plan on doing the build the Nile activity and I certainly had no desire to build an ark in my garage! I had no idea the two lakes we would visit would be flooded. Yet it fell together so absolutely perfectly - it is the kind of week you just want to bottle up and share. Truly looking back it was a perfect week of schooling, one rarely repeated and one not planned at all. We seized the moment and the opportunity and I said yes instead of no (my intial instinct) and how blessed we all were!

We often find ourselves in the midst of accidental unit studies that are planned on the fly. We find an interest and we go for it and suddenly the more you look the more you find it. The connections are so often there and available we just don't look for them so they pass us by. The same is true with the preschool years and all the letter of the week work I did. Suddenly when we were studying the letter C, everything around us started with the letter C or tied into a lesson about the letter C. It is just being open to the world around you and seizing all those teachable moments and tying them together. I assure you not every week is like this in our home, but wouldn't it be wonderful if it were?


Seven 7's

I've been tagged by Calandria. Of course I ended up changing the survey a little because I could honestly not answer one category and wanted to know the answers to the others.

Seven things to do before I die
1. Visit Ireland
2. Read all the Pulitzers
3. Write and publish a book
4. Hike the Appalachain Trail
5. Share the blessing of Christ with as many people as possible
6. Have grandkids and hopefully great grandkids
7. Learn to live a life in balance with margin

Seven things I cannot do
1. Keep my house truly clean for more then 10 minutes
2. Watch commercial or cable TV
3. Sing in tune
4. Mail a letter - anything related to the post office
5. Keep track of my sunglasses, cell phone, etc
6. Touch frogs - yes evern with Ciaran's love for them
7. Stay uninvolved

Seven things that attract me to my honey

1. His devotion and deep love for me
2. His friendship - its so much friendlier with two
3. His smiling eyes
4. His eternal optimism
5. His mind - he is the smartest person I know
6. His backrubs
7. Just him every way that God made him.

Seven things I say most often

1. Stop or No - remember I have a toddler and preschooler
2. Are you going to make a good choice or choose to have a consequence?
3. Just let me finish this row first - in regards to knitting
4. Dear Jesus, please... the start to the hundreds of prayers each week
5. Let's run some laps
6. I don't know but I can look it up for you
7. What can I do for you?

seven celebrity crushes
OK I can't do this one - I really truly don't have any. So I'm changing the category.

Seven books you love
1. My Mama Had a Dancing Heart - LIbby Moore
2. The Bible - seriously
3. Anne of Avonlea - Lucy Maud Montgomery
4. A Woman After God's Own Heart - Elizabeth George
5. Harry POtter series - favorite so far is OotP
6. The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein
7. My leatherbound Jane Austen collection

Seven movies you watch over and over again
1. Star Wars - I will count them all in one or it takes up all six! Huge fans here
2. Music Man
3. Breakfast at Tiffany's
4. Sum of All Fears
5. Cheaper by the Dozen
6. Harry Potter's - again all as one
7. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Seven people I want to do this
Dy, TulipGirl, Serona, Katie, Katy, Amy, Sarah

October 6, 2005

Noah's Ark
The Sun
Apple Tree

Noah's Ark

Well it is done and so am I! We built a Noah's Ark model in my garage. I am worn out. It was fun. All together we had 12 kids, 4 moms and many boxes. We started with one approach and quickly realized it was not working. So we took another strategy (just stacking closed boxes and taping them) which worked much better. While we were stacking the boxes the kids were painting boxes. One boy taped together nearly all the boxes of the Ark. After they were taped together the kids painted murals on them. Some pretty cool scenes. One had an apple tree and a river. Another had the flood and sun. Still another had trees and animals. There were also many colorful boxes.

In the end, truth be told it looked more like a tall square fort than an ark. But they all had a grand time and enjoyed building it. We built something really big that they could climb in and play inside of. We cut a door through a box for them all to climb through. The kids problem solved how to make a door and banana boxes served as natural windows. My kids felt like we built an ark with friends which is what counts - not whether it turned into anything that resembled an ark.

It was cold but the garage protected us from most of the wind. The size of our garage also controlled the shape and size of the ark we could build. All in all it was fun, though at times chaotic. I am so thankful I had other parents there, I could never have done this myself! Everyone worked together and we got a lot accomplished. Thank you!

If you decide to do this yourself - you can it was fun! Pick warm weather (it is too cold here already). Have a nice open space you don't mind paint getting on. Use tempera paint in a variety of colors - it washes up easily. Make sure the kids wear junky clothes. Have several adults on hand. Try to get many similar sized boxes - the banana boxes (free and easily available at grocery stores) worked really well. So did long flat screen TV boxes. Be organized ahead of time (I wasn't) so you can keep the kids interested and involved without lull. Paint after you tape together as much as possible as you get cool murals. Build a base and then stack boxes around until it is high enough to feel like you are inside - in general we were around four boxes high in most places. Ours was more square but you can control the shape yourself.

We made a snack and let the kids come inside and play while we prepared it, allowing the ark time to dry. After playtime and snacktime the ark was mostly (not completely) dry and the kids could get inside and play. I liked having a lot of kids here. We could have done it just the four of us but it was more fun together, even with all the extra chaos it brings. Truthfully we made it bigger too because we had more people and that makes it more fun as well.

My kids played in the ark until it was dinnertime, wanted to go back before bed and can't wait to get back inside tomorrow. Who knows how long we will keep it up - Minnesota cold weather is coming soon. For most people they think we have cold weather now (we will reach a low of 34 tonight) - yet I know what is to come so this still feels nice.

So consider building yourself a Noah's Ark sometime - it is fun!


Hazards of Homeschooling

Last night I realized there are some hazards they don't tell you about when you start homeschooling. Sentences uttered this week like:

No you may not glue the stools and board game together - Mommy to Sirah
Go fill the sink and wash all your animals - mommy to Ciaran
and the worst " I don't see a good reason why we can't do that" - Mom in response to two "projects" Rhiannon wanted to take on. Building the Nile River and building a large model of Noah's Ark!!!!!

So last night I found myself running around to grocery stores collecting banana boxes and all sorts of boxes and filling my van completely. The woman at the checkout said "good luck with your art" and my response was "This is the hazards of homeschooling they don't tell you about."

Right now my garage has around 30 large cardboard boxes and some paint and duct tape. We are awaiting the arrival of 10 kids and 3 parents and together we are going to build a large model of Noah's Ark.

As the weather took a turn for the worse (it is around 40 degrees here and windy) we will be working in my garage. The plan is to cut and tape boxes together with the duct tape and then paint them. We want to make it large enough for the kids to go inside of.

Check back later for updates on my insanity. All this came from Rhiannon watching a Christian video series by Karen Henley where she and some kids make a model of Noah's Ark with boxes and she asked - Can we do that? Please? As I could not really find a good reason to say no. I know many of you are ticking them off in your head and they have come to me since. I said "Sure!" Then once it was decided of course it is more fun and easier with more people so we invited friends. So here we are. I need to go get ready.


October 5, 2005

Flood Lesson Plan

WE have been studying Noah's Ark this week and it has been raining and raining and raining here. So much in fact that a nearby pond has flooded over into the grassy areas. Today the kids and I put on mud boots, raincoats and the like and went for a walk and then they ended up playing in nearly knee high pond water that was in the grass. It was very messy, the pond has a lot of duck weed. It was also very fun for them. Until the weather took a turn and they were wet and then cold. We had to head home but not before they ran through the fields to make the geese fly off and honk. Why is it kids love doing that?

When we came home after we cleaned up from our mess, Rhia and I did some work on floods. Reading about them and then playing some games online. Here are a few of the resources we used. Some were better then others, but here are the ones we tried.

PBS Saves the Books From the Flood Game

Drive to Safety Game
Build Drainage Pipes
FEMA Education and Math Games
Printable Board Game
Noah's Ark Save the Animals Game

We went through pictures of a variety of floods, looked at some books and through some educational websites. Rhiannon particularly liked this FloodPlain one.

Be sure to tune in tommorrow to find out about our very big art project we have planned.


October 4, 2005

Cool Baby Clothes

Every once in awhile I get an advertiser that I really like. El Nino baby products is one. Makes me wish my little ones would still wear the clothes. Wish I could squish Sirah into one. Check it out, great tie-dye for little ones and at reasonable prices. Then again I really love tie-dye - we have one tie dye onesie (the first baby item we bought) that all three kids wore many many times. Our kids look so much alike that you need to check the date or the scenery behind them (yes we have moved that much) to know which child it is! Anyway if you are in the market for baby clothes check them out on the sidebar.


Ideas for Preschoolers

Today I stumbled across a website with many easy great ideas for preschoolers, many that can be done near you while you work with the older ones. Need some creativity? Check out Paula's Archives for some ideas.


New Blog

Welcome to blogging Jen! Check out Little Homeschool, a fellow Classical/Charlotte Mason style family.


October 3, 2005

Homemade Calendar

Toady we did a fun and easy activity. We made homemade calendars on the computer. We spent about an hour on this activity. We started with google images and Picasa2 - where we store our digital pictures. Rhiannon got to decide what she wanted each months picture to be. We talked about what we do during each month, what the weather is like, what our activities are and any special events or holidays that occur during each month. Then she would evaulate our discussion and she would pick a subject. I would type it into images.google.com and come up with a variety of pictures to choose from. She picked out the best of her choices and we saved them to a folder on the computer.

After she had choosen each picture, including some family pictures (like for birthdays) we opened up our digital camera software(we use HP Image Zone) and we used the calendar function in there to create one page for each month with a picture on top and the calendar boxes on bottom. I printed them out and stuck them in sheet protectors inside a small three ring binder.

She made a front cover for the binder and we finished up by having her write in all the upcoming field trips, activites and classes she is taking for the month of October. We talked about the different months, days of the week, dates and amount of time in a month.

It was a fun, easy and rewarding activity. It was free (minus costs of ink and paper) and meaningful to her. Now she has a calendar that she selected all the pictures for. Using google images made this quick and easy. If you have an extra hour or are looking for a project try this one it is fun.


Of Books and Countertops

Having a two year old is always good for some laughs when you should be serious. Yesterday getting things ready for dinner and I walk into the kitchen to find Sirah standing on top of the counter opening the cabinet and trying to take out dishes. She was trying to help. She moved a stool over to the counter, climbed it like a ladder, stepped across from the eh seat to the cabinet and was taking things out.

Sirah is a very cute but petite little two year old so it was funny to watch. I should have been mad but I had to stifle a laugh. Of course she was reprimanded but after both Serona and I left the room to let out the laughter we stifled.

Later that same evening after being put to bed we returned to check on her to find her sitting in her doorway on a tiny doll chair with a book in her lap, flipping through a book "reading". It was too cute, another moment we had to try to be stern when we just wanted to laugh and tell her how cute she was or go run and find the camera.

Kids have a way with you. It is important to be firm I know. But it is also important to enjoy and treasure those funny silly moments. To let your kids know how cute they are, yet that their cuteness is not going to get them out of being obedient. Still having a two year old reminds us to loosen up and see the positives. We have a helpful two year old who loves to "read"!

Enjoy your silly moments today.

October 2, 2005

Fall Leaves

One of our favorite fall family trips is to go for a drive and hike to enjoy the fall colors. We went yesterday and had a great time. We kept driving too far north though and came back down south to enjoy the vibrant colors (they were actually better south which did not make much sense to me).

If you live in Minnesota, go to Banning State Park now. It is definitely in peak and absolutely gorgeous! Yellow, gold, orange, reds - it was amazing. We enjoyed a long drive (I finished knitting a sweater for Sirah) and the many colors along the rode. We went up to Lake Superior and back.

We stopped at Moose Lake, caught frogs and collected colorful leaves. We did leaf rubbings, everyone got their own page and took a short hike. Serona gave us an impromptu science lesson on why leaves change color and more about chlorophyll then I ever knew. We ate snacks we had packed and listened to "On the Banks of Plum Creek" and the "Sword of Shannara" on audiotape.

We ended the day at Banning and the colors were just so indescribably beautiful. We drove slowly through the whole park and then got out and walked around and collected leaves for pressing. They have just started to fall and we were able to collect many of the nice soft, freshly fallen colorful leaves.

If the leaves are changing where you are, get out and enjoy them. Take a hike, do leaf rubbings and collect leaves for pressing. You can even make it into a science lesson about why some trees change and others don't and what makes the leaves change color. Besides it is just fun!

Being from the North East - I adore fall, it is my favorite season. The colors are just so warming and welcoming and vibrant. While our fall is shorter here in Minnesota I try to enjoy each moment of it. We drive far so we can see vibrant colors as ours in the Twin Cities are often more muted.