Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thanksgiving Party

I have been sewing up a storm again... it isn't that often I actually get my sewing machine dusted off lately. It is hard to find the time with Logan, and especially since my machine is in the garage, and it is COLD out there... but this week, I have found the time. And I made this beauty for Cyan for her Pilgrim/Native American Thanksgiving Homeschool Party. I will get a better picture of it soon... I haven't hemmed the apron, the top of the apron still needs to be finished and she took off her cap, but man... she looks so cute!

We also made sillouettes of our kids. I think I am going to minuturize these and put them in nice frames for the grandparents for Christmas. It will be hard to get Logan, but what a sweet gift it would make! (I am surely going to do this for my own home...)

And here is my sweet girl, in her pilgrim outfit, with her Native American trading beads that she just made in a repeating pattern, and a big grin. :)

What can I say?  I love my girl.  :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Northwest Trek

Our study of temperate forest animals has taken us to some really amazing places! I thought that the nocturnal animals study was the most fascinating thing ever, but wow... these animals we have around here are wonderful!

Here is a place to get print outs for a similar study. Some coloring pages. A neat site where you can make your own field trips to explore new biomes.

From the top of the tram track... we live in a wonderfully beautiful area!

NorthWest Trek is a huge animal preserve with hundreds of animals... all native to our temperate woodlands around us! They have a variety of animals that have been rescued and others that have come to live in the area because it is protected and lush. We plan to go there every couple months for the rest of the school year.

Here are some pictures of the animals we saw:

Bald Eagle eating breakfast:

A Bighorn Sheep ram and a calf:

A Mountian Goat:

Rooseavelt Elk:

A pair of Swans:

A Bison male that stoped the tram for about 7 minutes, apparently he needed to check us out:

A pair of Bald Eagles (these two were wounded and NW Trek has been rehabilitating them... but they can not fly, so they can never be returned to the wild. The other Eagle that is at the begining of the photo shoot was wild.

Mountain Lion... it is odd to watch something that would gladly eat you with no glass between you. He was stunning, but a bit unnerving.

And my favorite picture from that trip... the Snowy Owls. The female is behind and the male in front. Doesn't it look like she is yelling at him and he is falling asleep? I love it... that happens in my house too. lol!

There are a few more pictures that can be found here, but those are the best of them. We also saw bears, wild wolves, a fox (which we just got done reading the book Amber: The Story of a Red Fox which I HIGHLY recomend (very real, much like Meerkat Manor would be in book form) so it was perfect we got to see this sweet little noctural critter for ourselves), racoons (Shirley Woods also writes Kit), beavers, wolverines, badgers, golden eagles, and frogs in the childrens area.

It was an amazing experience to go and see all of these animals we had been reading about in person! I loved it and any one who is within about 100 miles should take the trek to NW Trek... you won't regret it.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jim's U-Fish

For one of the girls birthday in our homeschool group, we were all invited to Jim's U-Fish... what a neat little place! It is a fully working farm, with ponies for riding, ponds for fishing, barns for visiting, and all sorts of areas to explore. They even have a whole little house to 'rent' for parties just like these... Here are a few pictures:

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dino Days

This is one of those times I forgot my camera. Luckily, between two other mamas on our homeschool group I did get a couple really cute shots of my babies and me on this fun two days set.

We set up the field trip (I say we, but include myself very loosly, as much of this was planned without me because of baby) in a two day set. The first day was a field trip to the Seattle Center, in which, there is this wonderfully huge dinosaur exhibit.

Here is Logan and I... he is sitting in the imprint of a dino foot.

Kids digging up dino bones:

A couple of the critters they have reconstructed:

The bone wall, which Alex thought was the coolest thing ever!

Baby dinosaur in an egg... one of the only intact eggs ever found. This is the reconstruction, but they have a picture of the real egg they found next to it.

Creative treats... Dino lunchables for Dino Days:

Dino Days #2, for this one, we met in a friends backyard for a little 'bone hunt' through their land:
Reading a book on dinos to get us in the mood.

Ready to go Logan??

After the bone hunt, swinging on the rope swing:

Cracking open dino 'eggs' to find the dino bones inside:

And the six mamas that make all of these fun classes possible:

Sarah, Sarah, Heather, Jessica, Val (me), Sarah... yes, we have considered calling our group "I'm with Sarah".

I don't think I could have made it this far with out these ladies as my support. They have been wonderful and I thank god every day for their love and friendship.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Butterflies at the Seattle Center

After doing our butterfly unit last month, Cyan was FASCINATED with the butterflies at the Seattle Center. Her painted ladies that we got flew away the second we openned up their little house. She didn't even get to 'release them'... they flew as fast as they could, right for the sun. She was very dissapointed that we didn't even get pictures of them. So when we went to the Seattle Center for the Dino Days, the butterfly habitat was where she wanted to be all day long.

You can just see the butterfly on Alex's pants. It would not get off and he was afraid to walk cuz he would hurt it. My sweet guy... so we called a helper over to get the beautiful thing off of him so he would be ok to move again.

This is a friends daughters hand... she had two land on her when we were in there... little butterfly whisperer. ;)

Some of these butterflies were beautiful beyond words:

Food Art Week

The first week of school for us this year was food art week. We had lots of fun studying nutrition, baking, coloring food pyramids, and making place mats out of magazine pictures of the foods we love.

More pictures!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

My Little Pony Girl

For birthday and Christmas, we give one gift of 'stuff' and one experience gift.  This year Cyan asked for horseback riding lessons.  It quickly turned into one of her passions.

Here is Cyan at one of her much loved horseback riding lessons.  She has 1 1/2 hours to do all of the things it would take if she had a horse, then ride, and brush them down when they are done.  It is a highlight of each month for her, and she just LOVES to ride.  I am sure there will be more pictures coming of this experience for her, as we will be doing it for a long time.  :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Butterflies Stage 2

Cyan is very excited! All of her caterpillars are now chryslis and hanging in the butterfly habitat on the kitchen table. The last one changed yesterday. I am hoping that one that fell off into the silk they spun to get to the top is ok. *crossing fingers* (Can you see it?)

Arn't they beautiful with all their gold spots? Cyan thinks that is the best. We are recording all of this in her Butterfly Book, although I have taken to drawing the pictures becuase she wants to be exact. I am sure she will draw some of the butterflies themselves. My little artist.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Butterflies stage 1

We started our life cycles unit yesterday with the arrival of our Painted Lady Butterflies. Cyan and I made an observation booklet this morning and she started talking about what she sees, and how they are changing. She also drew a picture of her observations in the book. Which right now are strings of little mounds of black on stuff that looks like mushed oatmeal. lol... which is very much what these little guys look like sitting in their jar on their food supplement. She is really excited! We got a book from the library on our Painted Ladies and are going to read it tomorrow. We also have worksheets on the life cycles of reptiles (Turtles) and mammals (Bunnies) which we will talk about as the unit goes on.

This will overlap the Early American Studies unit that we have been in for a while, studying pioneer days, horses, and foraging for food. But it is getting her more in classroom mode for a few good talks about writing and how important it is. In this picture, she wrote all the words on the booklet. She didn't spell them herself, but she did the writing. Very artistic handwriting she has already. I was really impressed that she did this at newly 6 years old. Her handwriting is better than her dads. lol!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

First Sewing Lessons

Cyan's first sewing lesson actually started last summer. When we made her doll quilt. She designed it, then I cut it out, she sewed some of them together (and I did as well) and then she cut all the strings and sewed the lines of squares together. I bound it, and she has used it for her dolls ever since. This was the project where I knew that eventually, sewing would be added into our weekly routine. Now (March 2008) we sew weekly.

Her design:

Cutting the strings after I put the rows together:

Finished quilt!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A day in the life of Val and Sarah... or maybe not....

Ok, so I was all ready to document my day... I had plans to clean the dryer vent, get worms with Sarah, do some gardening, play with the 6 kids, and clean house. All normal stuff for me, but a fun day none the less.

BUT, my day started out with a scalded hand because I poured boiling water over it while making my morning tea. Then I walked outside to pouring down rain. No garden day for me.

So I thought, well, we will start about 10 am and go from there... I was cleaning out the dryer vent... quite a straight forward deal right? Yeah, I lost the neighbors shop-vac attachment INSIDE the house... like inside... as in about 4 feet from either side within the venting. I couldn't reach it, Alex couldn't reach it... but heck. We were documenting, so I took a picture:

Sarah came over then, and had the brillant idea of taking my garden hose and shoving it through the house side of the vent and as it pushed through, Alex grabbing the hose attachment from the other side. And we triumphed! It came close enough to the other side for Alex to grab it with his skinny arms and YAY!

While Alex was down there they found a dead Possum!!!! Described by Alex it was complete with grey nose, long tail, and nasty 'glowing' red eyes. All 5 big kids were freaking out... Alex had an audience:

as he was trying to figure out what it was and how to get it out. I asked him if he was brave enough to go get it with a plastic bag. He said he was and Cyan piped up with "I AM GOING TOO!!" They started getting dressed up to go under the house to retrieve the dead critter:

I found this amazing as I don't know any other 5 year old girl that would volenteer for dead rodent removal. lol!

Complete with my dishes gloves... BUT when I went to get them this is what I found under my sink:

Oh lovely... good thing I still have the bits of the shop vac that hadn't been sucked up by my house!

That gets cleaned up and the kids come back, announcing that the dead possum, complete with red eyes, was actually a HUGE PEICE OF DRYER FLUFF! LOL!

Panic evaded, we decided to put the house back together and get on with our day.

But our photo documentation was all done........ the day was not. (now Sarah is typing the story: )

We loaded 5 kids up into the minivan and headed out on our errands; one stop at the farmers market to pick up Val's CSA, quick pick up at Joann's, lunch at Red Robins where I (Sarah) head to the bathroom with ketchup covered and diaper blow out Bayus and Logan, during a public breastfeeding moment of education for anyone watching, proceeds to make Val spray milk about the restraunt while he looks around grinning. Narrowly avoiding an almost elaborate meltdown about balloons as we left the restraunt we get back in the van. Last stop is the worm farm. Armed with our mapquest directions we head farther south.

We turn down a dirt road with a lot of over growth, the road is so narrow that there is only one way to go - deeper in.

We pass broken down buses with curtains on the inside, we pass broken down cars with curtains on the inside... in the surrounding fields we see wood 'shacks' with curtains on the inside. (At this point we get a bit nervous, but there WAS a sign that said "worm farm" at the begining of the adventure as well as a warning to 'beware of gnomes', so at least the inhabitants had a sense of humor.) Finally we come to a sign that says 'Parking, Honk your horn' where there was NO PARKING WHATSOEVER, just the dirt road with a van parked along side. A few honks with no response and Val decides to get out of the van and look around. She enters a 10ft tall tarped carport with what looks like piles of coffee grounds on the ground, something crusty under her feet, a 'pit/hole' in the ground with some dark liquid in it and 'vats' of more of the dark liquid surrounding her all around. She exits the carport and starts walking down a path (at which point she leaves my eye sight and I get out of the van to keep an eye on her). Val is approached first on the path by a large but gladly friendly dog, and then another dog. Next she passes several pot pipes laid around on broken washers and various bits of metal that no longer had a shape and last but gladly not least she finally runs into the 'worm farmers' that also gladly are super friendly kind people.

They gave us a tour of the worm farm and explained how the run off from the dirt/compost/coffee ground piles drains into the hole in the ground and then they bottle it as 'worm tea' and sell. Unknowing what this was we smiled and nodded, just glad that there was some explanation to the eversointeresting set up. They did not however offer information to the pot pipes but I'm sure its just another piece of raising 'happy' worms. In order to turn around to get back we had to go still deeper into the hippie commune and I had to make a million small back and forth pivots in the van between a broken down car and a boat, both of which I was very wary of hitting. Not only because I didn't want to hit it in general but also because I had a sneaking suspicion someone could be sleeping in anything I saw. The happy ending to our so far way too eventful day is that we got 5lbs of worms for $30 (a great deal) and headed home with sleeping baby/toddler. Val and I both commented as we left that it was such a fun know...... because we were together and all ok. :P

On the drive home we pulled to the side of the road when we spotted someones yard with LITERALLY hundreds of kids plastic yard toys... (wouldn't you stop?) In the pouring rain we tromped through piles and rows and heaps of yard toys with the 2 five year olds and the 7yr old. We were SOAKED and as we drove home the combination of body heat and rain water made a sort of minivan sauna, it was fun.

(Val again)

We get home to yet another blow out from Logan this time (second of the day)... at this point, the outfit count for the 6 children, is as follows (oldest at top):

Alex: 2
Elias: 1
Cyan: 3
Hannah: 1
Bayus: 3
Logan: 4

Sure hope the dryer is fixed!

Right this second, the husbands have the kids, Eddie is holding the baby and Don is replacing a Ken's head that was dramatically being thrown against the door because apparently his behavior was unacceptable for the royal ball. You all know that Barbie has a mean streak, be warned.

We are finishing dinner alternetly writing this post, editing each others bits, and laughing maniacally.

Laugher fixes everything right? As Sarah always says, what is good, is great, but what is bad... is a GREAT story.