Monday, December 29, 2008

It's raining, it's pouring...

And us ladies are baking.

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes, made by Cyan for her tea party with her friend Hannah tomorrow. We put a small layer of tiny chocolate chips on the bottom, then filled the cups half full with devils food cake mix, then added one cherry (from cherry pie filling) in the center of each cupcake. She did the whole thing herself (hense the cake mix). It is an experiment, but wow... they sure smell good.

And here is my brilliant moment in the day. There are 26 letters for this sweet gadget that Grandma sent Logan for Christmas. But I KNEW there would be letters all over my floor all the time if I put them all up. So I decided that I had to only let him have a few. I put his name over the top of the toy base and he has been pulling them down, pressing them into the toy to hear them sing, and putting them back 'where they go' all by himself. They get messed up and dropped, but as long as I put them back he at least tries to put them back above in order. It has been fun to watch him hearing all the letters of his name as well... "L says "l". "A says 'A' and 'a'."

Along with this, we have started singing the ABC song when we brush his teeth. It works well, not only for a timer but as a distraction. He is TERRIBLY impatient with teeth brushing and hair washing. He will put his hand on your hand as you are brushing and say "'top!" Sigh... smart kids are rough sometimes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snow and ice

This is what happens when it snows, and then it melts a bit, and then you have a snowstorm. You end up with a ice layer. Dangerous for drivers. But very cool for homeschoolers. :)

There were actually two ice layers... one under the snow as well. This is the dangerous one for drivers and the reason that our winter weather becomes so dangerous so fast. Snow chains, tred tires, etc don't really do anything with the amount of slush and then ice that forms under it.

This means we have not been driving... and that means that we have been playing a whole bunch in the snow. ;)

Beautiful... isn't it?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Footprints in snow

We have had a crazy fun time these last two days being snowed in. And we have learned a bunch as well.

Cat tracks:

Squirrel tracks:

Bird tracks:

And more bird tracks:

Did you notice the difference between the bird footprints? The first ones are 'walkers' (their feet are spread apart like they are walking). The walkers are ground feeders. The second picture is of 'hoppers' (their feet are side by side like they were hopping) and they are the tree feeders. Interesting huh?

We have also brought in two quarts of snow. One to melt measured in the jar to see if the snow takes up the same amount of space as the water the snow will turn into does. The other quart is being saved until we can head to a store with litmas paper. Alex wants to check if it is "acid rain snow".

And for what else we have done since being snowed in... check this out:

Snow Days

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Alex is on a new plan. After weeks of some pretty serious issues (all on the normal 'hormonal teen stuff' scale, but effecting our lives), Don and I came up with a point system that seems to be working out well. For each job he does above and beyond his daily chores, Alex earns time for his own pursuits... like Gameboy time, X box time, and or movie time. We have separated each job into categories... small jobs earn 3 points (each point in 5 minutes, so 15 minutes) medium jobs are 30 minutes (6 points) and large jobs are 60 minutes (12 points). For each time he mouths back, or doesn't do what we tell him enough times to annoy, we start counting. 1, 2, 3.... etc... that is how many points he looses off of whatever he has earned (being 5 minutes of his own time each). On school days (we don't play games on school days) he can 'bank' points for the weekend, and on the weekend he can keep his points for playing games with friends or whatever.

Yeah. I set up my sons life like a video game. But let me tell you, it is WORKING. I have never had my patio so clean, or my sidewalk shoveled of snow so fast with such a willing worker. He is even going to iron my table napkins.

This plan also comes with learning the safe and easy way of doing chores however... he did clean the patio of ice and snow yesterday with large buckets of hot water. He would fill the bucket up, and take it outside. I was thinking that he was using it for the tougher spots... nope. That is how he did the entire job. Large buckets of hot water poured all over my cement patio. When I told him that the patio would be an ice rink by 5pm he said "but I used HOT water".

Awww... The joy of 12 year olds.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Doesn't he look ready for snow?

Bedecked in one of his sisters boots, Don's hat, and spider pj's... he is ready to go 'bye bye'... but first, he has to have a snack:

Alex's newest project:

He has been making origami for the last week pretty obsessively. It has been neat to watch him start out with the easy stuff, and slowly start to make things like these boxes that he has put all over the Christmas tree to things even more complicated (like a Ty-fighter).

It hasn't gotten over freezing in days now. This last Sunday it was about 22 degrees in the wind... which is where I was standing all day at work. It was bad. But I have since recovered (all but a bit of frost burn on my hand that is bugging me right now) and am ready for the next two days worth of snow. The weather forecast says 4 inches.

Bring it on.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter Birthdays

Yesterday Cyan took a trip to a wonderland far away,

for the very special birthday of a certain sweet tinker fairy.

All of our fairy friends were there.

Some that had been stuck with a terrible illness and are gratefully in sweet recovery,

We bestowed gifts upon the beautiful fairy princess as she lounged in her wonderland,

And then shared in a chocolate fountain made by the beautiful fairy queen.

All were covered in chocolate goodness, and were happy.

And this was good.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New quotes

"Alex, I need your phone."


"Because I am taking it for a couple days."


"Because you called me 13 times while I was out."

"Well you didn't answer the first twelve times."


As we open the box the Christmas gifts come in from the kids grandma in CA Cyan says:

"I bet grandma bought me a pink ballet outfit."

"Honey, I doubt it. We just scaned your list yesterday, I didn't send it to her."

"Oh yes. I bet she did. She loves me... and she can read my mind."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tree study going strong

The tree study is going well so far. Today, Alex looked up what type of trees we had in our old neighborhood in the Arbor Association book, and then I had him go out and figure out what kinds of trees we have in our new neighborhood. His best guess was a White Oak. But the book had white oaks only listed on the east side of the country. I had him look closely at the details: 'grow in stands' (place with a lot of the same tree variety) and between our neighbors and us there were 26 that he could see from our front yard. That sounds like a stand to me. 'Has a leaf with rounded lobes and has a rounded crown of branches.' Check, and check. But still... we are not in the middle east part of the US. So I had him check the placement on the map, just to make sure it didn't include somewhere close to us.

Above, he is mapping where the book said the White Oaks were most prevalent, he took string and mapped from each place they said. The book says that they only grow from 'west Missouri, to Maine, to Florida, and then back to Texas." We are in Washington. Not anywhere near there. We were stumped... we definitely have some type of White Oak in our backyard. So we asked the almighty Google for help. Sure enough, we found this in short order:

As far as we can tell, the differences are in the leaves. White Oaks have 5 - 9 lobes, most of the time having more than 7. Garry Oaks have 5 - 7 lobes, numbering in the lower numbers more often. There is also a slight difference in stature. Our oaks are smaller.


We also looked at bark from our Tree Ring Discovery Kit. We figured out how old the red oak was that we had the rounds from, and then identified all of the different pieces of the trunk (heartwood, sapwood, cambium and inner/outer bark layers).

After that, we saw a new bird in our yard... a spotted Towhee... and the lesson moved on. Cyan drawing what she saw out the window, Alex looking up birds and listening to the sounds they make in his bird book. There is a lot of nature in this little yard. Here are pictures from the ten minutes after the lesson before Logan drug me away for an episode of Blue's Clues.

This is a busy little yard. :)

And let me introduce you to the squirrel we have so aptly named "Spider Squirrel" or "Spidy" for short.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

First day of school in the new house

What a blessing this set up is going to be! I love not having the tv in the same room as our school time. Logan was able to watch part of a Blue's Clues while we were working, and the kids didn't get up to watch the tv once. It was wonderful!

Those windows may prove to be nearly as much of a distraction though. There are SO many animals and birds around here! What a great nature lesson in our own backyard. Already today we have watched squirrels chasing each other around our yard, we have seen 4 stellar jays in the same tree at the same time (it was a little tree too), and seen 4 other different kinds of birds eating at our feeders. I am glad I decided not to skip the Trees Unit Study. Because this will be a good introduction to the nature in our new neighborhood. And that means that my kids won't constantly be in trouble for pointing out the newest animal in the yard, or the trees that look funny, or the bird that just came to the window feeder. Because I have to admit, it is pretty darn hard for me to not be distracted by all the life out there right now... so it is near impossible for them.

Back in Nov we started this unit study with what trees need to survive. But that was over a month ago now, so today we had a refresher on that topic. We wrote up diagrams and talked about what they need and what each one is called (air, sunshine, water, soil, protection (bark)). Then we started a new mini unit of photosynthesis. The best way to learn that is to see it.

This is our photosynthesis experiment. For the next four days, this leaf, on our healthiest window plant, will be covered by 3 layers of dark colored paper. Nothing else is changed... the leaf is not damaged and still has access to air, water, and soil. The experiment will be to see if it is still the vibrant green at the end of our school week. Alex had to write up what we did for the experiment, a hypothesis about what will happen, and at the end, he will write a conclusion.

We have used quite a few books for this unit study already. The best (which we are still using) have been Trees by Mary Julivert, Berries, Nuts & Seeds, and Trees, Leaves, & Bark, (both in the Fun with Nature Take-along Guide series). The "Trees" book is a field guide. They whole thing is set up in two page spreads, much like a good encyclopedia.

Now we are on our way to the Festival of Trees downtown. Not quite related as they are ALL fir trees... but it will be fun anyhow.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Greensleeves by Mozart

This seemed appropriate for the season. Mozart wrote it, but it was an Englishman in 1865 who wrote the words that have become dear to our hearts this time of year. This is a beautiful tribute to Greensleeves and Mother Nature, who is sleeping, and to the baby that is rejoiced this time of year for his gifts of love.

Late start

Last month we were studying trees, Mary Cassatt, and Mozart. And then we found out we were moving in three weeks and all but the basics of homeschool stopped dead in the water. So I decided to bump it a month. This month has been a long one in coming. We have our homeschool corner all set up and are ready to begin some learning with our first full day of school in the new house tomorrow. :) I am excited and I think so are the kids.

I think I am going to try an experiment for this month. We are not going to do basics. By that I mean, we are not going to follow our reading, writing, and math curriculums as we have been. We are going to be studying trees, Mary Cassatt, and Mozart. And we are going to base everything, unit study style, on those three things. Cyan will read books about trees, or read captions in books I am reading. Alex will write papers, and keep a journal on the different types of trees they find in the neighborhood, and Cyan can draw pictures. They can count how many acorns they find in the back yard now that Alex has raked... or better yet, they can count how many acorns they find in a 2X2 square in the back yard and then walk the back yard to see how many would be in the whole yard that way. I want to try it. I think this is the best way to learn, personally, and I find it fun. So for this month, I think that is our plan. To immerse ourselves in the beauty of the trees we are getting to know. To draw and paint like Mary Cassatt, and to listen and appreciate Mozart and learn about his life. Maybe we will find a new way to do school in this month, and perhaps we will turn back... but it certainly won't hurt to try.

A neat tree web site we have been playing with:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Logan speaks!

My sweet boy is really starting to talk. Today, Don left to go out with a friend for Starbucks, and Logan came running in and said "MAMA! Ba-ba, go, bye-bye." Yes, the punctuation is correct. He paused between each word... also correct is the fact that he calls his daddy "Ba-ba". Don't know why. Who knows a one year old's logic? But today, he sounded more like a two year old to me. Speaking in sentences that didn't have signs that went with them... My sweet boy. Growing up so very fast.

In other news, Logan had his first real visit to the ER last week. He wasn't breathing correctly. At first, I thought that he just had a cold. And then, after 24 hours, I started to think that he may have gotten something stuck in his airway. He did have a very distinct stridor, with the dip in his chest caving each time he fought to take a deep breath.... which of course was the thing making me the most nervous, so on night #2 of this abnormal breathing, I took him strait to the ER. They did a quick X-ray, which showed no blockage and they determined that it was actually Croup, but without the characteristic 'seal bark' cough. Which is quite abnormal. She asked me quite a few times if he coughed when upset, or had a high fever, or any other sign of croup... but each time the answer was 'no'. He was just fighting for breath.

It took them a steroid shot and two different nebulizer meds before he didn't sound like someone was sitting on his chest. He was apparently never lacking for oxygen however, even though he was fighting for every bit of air he got; they had that little red light thing on his toe (that made him look like a distant cousin of ET) to keep track of the oxygen in his blood. Which was good. But we were there for 5 hours with him hooked up to the ET thing keeping track of his O2 levels, and they finally called a respiratory specialist in. She gave him the shot of steroids and within two hours (or the length of the movie 'Chicken Little') he started breathing easier and we were able to go home around 4:30am.

The whole next day he sounded like he had asthma with a constant loud wheeze. But he wasn't fighting like he was the night before... and he was a normal toddler again in other ways too... like constantly getting into my purse, and wanting to watch specific movies... but not any that I chose. Stuff like that that makes you know your child feels better. He recovered quickly after that... but of all the childhood diseases that I have encountered, this one was one of the most scary. Watching your baby fight for breath is really frightening. He is doing great now though. And I am very grateful.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I realised something about the video I posted last week. At the end, when he keeps saying no, he said "Um..... kitty!" and then we asked him for a doggy noise, and he says "no"... and then proceeds to meow at us. lol! Smart boy. I certainly didn't catch it in the moment. In fact, it took me two or three times watching the video to catch that he said that.

Lately I have simplified my life to where some who know me are kind of not sure what to think... got rid of animals that I loved, moved from a city I adored, got rid of a garden that I pride myself in... but I have needed to simplify. Let other people do the work that I have done for the last few years. Pull in, and strive to not have so much to do... so I am free to move just a bit slower, listen just a bit better, and react just a bit calmer. That is my goal for this move. So far, this move has been crazy. Not awful (although there are many things going on I could do without) just crazy. But in all that, I can already see it is a good change. Just in the way my children play.

I am wishing for a quiet holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Blessings for Hannah

This is Hannah. My best friends little girl and one of Cyan's very dear friends.

Right now this beautiful little girl is very sick. She has a ruptured appendix and had surgery this morning. Please pray for her and her family and for her speedy recovery.

Many prayers are coming her way from us.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Toddlers are so much fun

Logan is learning new words all the time. Two days ago he ran into Alex’s room, ripped the head off one of his bionicals… and then ran as fast as his little legs would carry him. Alex goes out to get it from him, but trying not to hurt him, he just grabs his arm and tells him over and over that he has to give it back. And Logan starts SCREAMING “Let go! Let. Go. Me! No no! Let GO!” Then I walked over. I told Alex to let go of him, and then said to Logan “You can’t have that right now. It’s Alex’s. Mama says no.” And he handed it to me without even an abashed look. It was like he was thinking ‘well as long as I don’t have to hand it to him.'

Alex was not quite so pleased with the calm outcome as I was.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cultivate Creativity

My clan.

“Call it a clan,
call it a network,
call it a family.

Whatever you call it,
whoever you are,
You need one."

- Jane Howard

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." ~ Dr. Seuss

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cyan's review for November

Language Arts: This month she has started reading books. Simple, (very simple) books to get her speed and fluency up in reading. We are still playing games, but lots of them are packed, so books are easier. The first time she read two books in one sitting without much fuss I nearly jumped for joy! And she was happy with herself as well. She has started the 3rd Explode the Code book and is enjoying that, and we are still working with the Dolch word set... but mostly, she is just reading right now.

Math: She is finally slowing down on the Math-U-See work. She ended up stopping around chapter 8 because there were a few things she didn't understand, and so we have started to work with the blocks again, and have her get some of the concepts. What is funny is that this work is early algebra (ie: __ + 4 = 9 ) so after these three chapters that have to do with that, she may start flying through again... but at the moment, we are paused and learning fun new things.

Science: Still working with nocturnal animals. We will be moving on to trees and leaves. She can't wait to work with the leaves we pressed last month and paint fall scenes... so she will transition after the move into the tree unit easily I think. We finally got our Science curriculum... but I already have another planned out. Not sure how that is going to work.

Social Studies: Still in Egypt. She is really enjoying the Ancient Egyptian Fashions coloring book! Right now we are reading a book about ancient Egyptian gods and their wars for the world, and about the transition from Kings to Pharaohs. It is a fun and interesting study.

Fine Arts: We are studying Mary Cassatt and Mozart this month. When we get into the new house, we will be able to do more hands on art with the concepts and techniques of Mary Cassatt and Cyan is thrilled about that! She can't wait to paint. And she has been really enjoying the books and lessons of Mary Cassatt so far... she has told me that when she grows up she is going to be an artist just like her. Successful lesson. ;)

Alex's review for November

Language Arts: He is still writing poetry, and getting better at writing with his broken arm and often with his left hand. Reading to Cyan has become an issue due to sibling stuff, so we have stopped that and he is now reading aloud to the whole family during lunch time. He has also been reading "Dragonslaying is for Dreamers" and we have been discussing things such as summarizing the material, the setting, and other writing details.

Math: Right now he is working on exponents. We had to take a whole week to explain how to do exponents with fractions, but he is starting to move slowly but steadily again. Once he gets a thing, he really understands it. That is nice.

Science: We are still working with nocturnal animals although I have wanted to move on to trees and leaves. The kids are interested, but still draw pictures and write papers on owls and wolves. lol... so there we sit. I may start the trees unit a bit later and then see if I can get the motivation with all the naked trees around our new house.

Social Studies: We are pretty much doing the same thing as we were last month. Egypt in depth now. Talking about their lives and the transfer from kings to Pharaohs and what that meant for the people. We have had to pack away most of our globes and maps, but they will be back out soon and we will be able to continue with geography as well.

Fine Arts: This month is Mary Cassatt and Mozart. Lots of papercrafting to come as we get more into the life of Mary Cassatt and her art with mothers and children.

Technology: Going again. :) He is using the mouse and since the last update he has beat Carmen San Diego, and Zoogles (a math concept game). He will start his new typing program in three weeks after his cast is off and he has been working with the exercise ball for two weeks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Alex's poetry

It seems he thinks in words. Which makes him a natural at showing what he wants in words on paper with his own quirky style. Here are his two latest from our lesson today:


I was in a train,
near a plain.
Along with some grain,
from the plain,
coming to the train,
in the rain.

And my personal favorite for this week:

The Wagon

The dragon was pulling a wagon
down to the bay.
But the wagon was a-draggin'
so the wagon had to stay.

I love his use of slang this way, it seems very natural... and before this year, it was him mispronoucing words to make them fit... now it is him using words the way they are used in language.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stories of books and babydolls...

Cyan stated in July that she wanted an American Girl doll. I told her to 'save her money' with no thought at all that she would actually do it.

She started saving.

But the American Girl dolls are $100 a piece. Then my friend Jessica had the idea to buy one of the girls in our group a Our Generation doll for her Sept birthday, which are just as beautiful, the same size, and much more reasonably priced ($30) and I told Cyan about it. She redoubled her efforts to get this type of doll. Yesterday, when we were out getting Logan's hair cut, Alex wanted to stop at Game Crazy and trade in a bunch of his games so he could get a new one. (We don't buy them video games, but they are allowed to with their money.) Cyan had games to trade as well, but she didn't want game in return, she wanted money toward her doll. She sold $17 worth of games, making her savings total $31.25. So our next stop was to pick up her doll. She spent about a half an hour deciding which one to get, and finally picked Hally... a beautiful doll with blue eyes, a gym outfit and two blonde braids. She has taken her everywhere today, and changed her clothes (of which she has two outfits) three or four times.

But there is more to this story. We bought her this one already. It has been in the garage for weeks because we were thinking that she would not earn enough by Christmas and so we would get it for her as her 'big gift'. Don picked one out and packed it away for her gift and the next time we were in Target he asked her which one she wanted, and after much 'well this one has this' and 'that one has that' she said "I think I like anyone but that one..." and pointed directly at Jenny; the one he had bought her. lol! That night he ran over there and exchanged it for another one. Hally (in a different outfit). And now she just bought the one he got her. LOL!

I may have to throw in the towel for the surprise Christmas doll. Not sure, but I think she is getting what she wants without any help from Santa at all.

Here is Alex playing his new game he got with his game money.

Logan with his new haircut.

These books each have a little story, but since I have typed so much already, I will just share the most special ones. First is Owl Babies by Martin Waddell. On that link you can "look inside" the book and see why it is so darned charming. It is my favorite owl book ever, and I read it to our homeschoolers at the owl party just last Friday. I have gotten it from the library about 6 times, and every time I think "Why don't I own this book?" When I saw this at Goodwill today, I had to pick it up. It is a board book version, and perfect for Logan, who loved to listen to it already... now he can hold it too! (And all for $1.29. Lovely.)

This next book has a story that goes even further back. Too Much Noise was a book that Danny Kaye had in his vinyl record of classic stories when I was little. I LOVED listening to that record. When he did all the voices and the stories just came alive. I loved it so much, in fact, that when I was taking my oral storytelling class in college, I used it as my final project and did that story, start to finish from memory in front of my entire class and their friends (and Don, who was my fiance at the time). I have told it at campfires and at Harvest Moon parties but I have never owned a copy of the book, and although I have never searched for it, when I saw this copy for $.99 at Goodwill today, I started jumping up and down.

Literally. It was quite funny actually.

Don laughed.

Now, it's mine to read to my children. :)

I like to think it is just a whole other generation of stories being ready to be told. That start with these stories of books and babydolls.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Inspiring mamas

I have been looking through other peoples blogs today. Some I have found through friends, and others I have just surfed... and I have been really impressed with what I am finding. In my tired, 'after moving thousands of pounds of vegetables all day long' stupor, I found this mama. And this post cracked me up.

I was inspired by this mama and this post that she made... omg. What an amazing costume!

I watched this mama with ideas for a friend who also has to be Gluten free, and was in awe of all the things that she has found to make her life a bit more normal and a lot more fun.

I have never enjoyed surfing before. I think mamas rock. :)

Newest conversations with my toddler

"Mama!" as he comes toddling over, and throws himself on my lap face first. I pick him up and set him on my lap.

"What do you need little man?"

"Juice?" Which he pronounces 'jew'

"Nope. Don't have any. It's all gone." I hold my hands up with the 'finished' sign.


"Nope. Do you want to go to bed?"

"No no." with a bit of head shaking to make sure I know he is serious.

"Mama." He says as he sticks his hand inside my shirt.

"What are you doing?" I ask as I remove his hands.

"NO! Mine." He says, hands back in my shirt, and giggling.

Sigh. Thus is the life of a nursing toddler and the many things he may or may not get to drink during any given day.


He is also learning German. Now you all get to say things like "Wow, what an amazing Mom!"

However that isn't why he is learning German words along with English. The neighbor is teaching her dog, and she is often heard in the back yard saying things like "Nein!" (no) and "Seitz" (sit)... he just came over here and yelled "Nein!" when I took the DVD he had away. lol... Is he brilliant... or has the brain of a German Shepard.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A busy week

We are moving in two weeks. Which means school gets even more creative than usual. When I feel like packing, I pack. When we feel like doing school (which we do often actually), we do school. And much of our schooling comes in the form of field trips and fun activities... which of course, make the kids very happy.

We had a class at the Tacoma Nature Center called "What goes bump in the night?" that included a night nature walk. THAT was cool. Then we got to come back inside and make wolf masks and have cocoa (we were the last nature walk, we actually missed the cocoa). They talked a lot about what makes a nocturnal animal different from a daytime or crepuscular animal (one that is up at dawn and dusk). Espically the eyes. The larger eyes of night time animals also have internal differences... we got to learn all about that.

Then yesterday, my homeschool group put on a wonderful owl party. A woman from the Audubon Society came over with all of these taxidermy owls, and a great slide show of what owls need to live wild in our areas and how beneficial they are to the people they live around. It was wonderful! And as always with our parties, we each brought a craft. My friend Sarah had the kids make felted Owl Pellets... she brought beads, sticks, feathers, and tons of felting wool in 'fur' colors to make them, and then the kids hand water felted them as she talked about how owl digestion worked. Sometimes, I am in awe of the creativity that comes from my friends. Seriously. The kids spent the rest of the morning playing 'owl' and 'pellet'... a game in which one person is the owl that flies around (using their paper bag owl puppets that was a craft of Heather's (another mama friend of mine)) and then the other person is the pellet (curled up in a ball on the ground), and as the owl spits them out they 'pop' open and flail their legs and arms back and forth like they are falling from a tree. Cyan was willing to reenact the whole thing for me when we got home. It was really pretty neat all the facts that they were reinforcing over and over in their play.

There are times that I feel like I can't get through to them alone... and these parties are just that much more meaningful because of those times. Cyan and I studied owls last year... and she got it, and enjoyed it, but wasn't gung-ho about it. This time, she was able to answer the questions with the info she already had, reinforce the things she knew, get some new facts, and some really cool hands on stuff to go with it... and then it was like a light bulb went on and she got it. You know that moment I mean? The one where your kids know all the little details and are able to 'play' with the information they have gathered.

Alex and Cyan were playing with that information all afternoon. They were owls and pellets... she was a mouse and he was an owl... his puppet and her puppet were fighting over nest territory. All of this play that is reinforcing all that they spent the morning learning.

I can't imagine a better way to teach my children.

If you have noticed. I haven't been taking many pictures lately when we are not at home. That would be because I am chasing a toddler. Even with Don with me, like he was for Wolf Haven last Friday, I still find myself, more often than not, chasing a very adventurous toddler around where ever we go. As the rain started coming the mud followed. Trying to keep my camera dry, keep Logan out of the mud, and do whatever we are supposed to do all at the same time is just a bit too much for me. So no pictures. ;) Perhaps someone else in my group took some that I can post later.

For now, here are two pictures from the last day our pumpkin city was out.

The one above seemed like the spirits of the night were coming up out of the pumpkins. It meant a slow exposure, nothing surreal, but it was a cool effect anyway.

And of course, my pumpkin coach to go along with Cyan's Spiderella Castle. :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Missing Summer

I miss the warm already. School is fun, I don't need to stop doing school... just be able to get outside and play when it isn't raining... yep. I already miss summer.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

She is just really amazing....

My daughter is a born artist. I pretty much can't wait until we can move so she has more space to do art. In this house she has been limited to paper and pencils. (She does have really good colored pencils that I got her.) I can't have paint inside with this light tan carpet, and there is really no other space for me to let her free to do art. In the new house, we have a HUGE room with tile floors. And I am planning on setting up my cutting table (adjustable height) just for art. Both the kids are good at it... but Cyan has a passion that I think could really become something later in her life. Or at the very least, bring something to her life that I get from doing my paper crafting (which is another thing I can start doing more of when we move).

Anyway. Here are a few of my seven-year-old's latest drawings.

"A Rose"

When she brought this to me, she said "Mama, I have never drawn a rose like that before. It just came from me. Like from my heart. I had never done it that way... and then I did."

I nearly cried.

In her picture, you can see the roots, seed, leaves, stem, and flower all illustrated in detail. Along with a worm, 'helping the soil'. The things you think you didn't get through to your children sometimes come back in the most amazing ways.

"My Wrapped Baby"

She has such a beautiful idea of the world. I keep all of her art like this in folders by year. She has had one since she started preschool 4 years ago. Looking back, it is really incredible. I honestly don't think she has any more talent than anyone else... she just has passion. Intense passion. She is just pretty darn amazing.

Oh, I can't wait to share some of Alex's poetry. I love having artistic children.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

So tonight...

Don bought a pumpkin pie from Costco while he was getting a loaf of bread.

And it wasn't near as good as the one we made from a pumpkin.

Score one for homemade!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wolves, windstorms, and pumpkins... oh my!

We started out the day early, with a morning drive to Wolf Haven in the rain. What a wonderful field trip that was! They have three different kinds of wolves and a pair of coyote. Our wonderful tour guide (Megan) walked us through the entire place, telling us about which wolves were which and a little story about each pair. Some of them were super skittish, some were friendly enough to rub up on the fence while we were there. But all had been rescued. The tour ended with a great slide show about the lives of wolves and what they need in the wild and then a game about pack behavior. It was a wonderful morning.

And we came home to this:

This tree branch had fallen across our street two houses down from us. It is the same tree that had the two racoons living in it last month. It had taken out a power pole, and the whole neighborhood was out of power for 8 hours. (No, I still have not checked my freezer, but it wasn't hot today, so I have faith everything will be ok.)

It broke off right at the tree. In our area, we have seen a lot of this type of brakage lately. I am starting to feel like it must be the excess rain we have had over the last two years. It wasn't super windy during this storm, but it must have had just enough to tear this branch right off this tree. Crazy!

This is the neighbors house and the power lines it took out. Luckily, it didn't seem to do much damage over there, except for the power lines.

And I think we misnamed the pumpkin city. Instead of SpiderVille, we should have named it SlugVille. Apparently, that is the only type of clientele that our city has attracted.