Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The last days of advent

12. Watching a Christmas movie with popcorn (We watched "Elf"... what a fantastic movie. So funny!)

13. Carmel apples

(We were not quite as scheduled in the next few days. A police officer in our area got shot. All of us PD families were in shock. It was the 8th police officer shot, and the 6th one to die in 2 months within 30 miles of me. We are still in recovery...)

14. Going to Zoo Lights with hot apple cider (didn't do)

15. Cereal box boxes for gifts (We used Valerie's stamp and sharpie technique for some of these)

16. Button bracelets (Didn't finish)

17. Painting recycled wrapping paper (That turned into making calendar pages into beautiful gift bags)

18. Pressed leaf glitter ornaments (no pictures)

19. Bird seed pincones

20. Chocolate dipped nuts and fruits

21. Recycled carol lanterns

22. Christmas cookies for neighbors

23. Paper snowflakes (Didn't do)

24. Wrapping gifts


Friday, December 11, 2009

The first ten days of Advent

I have not been the best one at keeping up with this stuff. I have been posting some of it on my other blog, but a few real life things have come up, and we have had to take a step back from a few things to be able to deal with them.

The Advent Activities are going really well though. We all are just LOVING doing the activity we find every day. Me as much as the kids!

Day 1: Yule log candle holder

Day 2: Trip to Mt Rainier

Day 3: Fantasy Lights and Hot Cocoa (link, no pics. Sorry!)

Day 4: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie the play (Link, no pictures were allowed)

Day 5: Recycled paper ornament balls

Day 6: Special chocolate (I was gone all day long)

Day 7: Cutting our tree with Daddy

Day 8: Beaded key chains for gifts (no pics)

Day 9: Teasel hedgehog ornaments

Day 10: Paper crane ornaments

Day 11: Waldorf paper stars

Alex was AMAZING at these stars tonight. He made tiny ones to go onto the tree... and then covered them in silver glitter. How cool is that?

That's it so far! We have been having a blast and really getting into each craft we have been making. The kids are loving being all crafty and motivated. They have made gifts for nearly everyone. I love the creativity it brings out in them. Cyan just made this awesome gift for a friend. Check it out here!




Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Nature Table 2009

This was fun to set up with the kids. After the hustle and bustle of the fall table with all of the things that were on it, to start with a blank slate and put only the winter things on was nice. And of course, kid things were added... and the heart from Mother Natures hands has gone missing again. Just proof that it is a living nature table with kids that love it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Advent: Day 3 ~ Trip to Mt Rainier

Yes, those are live wild foxes. They came right up to our car. The one with the black face was close enough that I could have touched him. They had obviously been fed by people visiting the park. It was actually kind of sad... but wow. What amazing pictures!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Advent at my House

Advent at my house has always been a big deal. My mom made an advent calendar from felt in the shape of this giant tree, and we would put an ornament on each day. We loved it! This year, we are fighting back the holiday blues with crafts, so each of the pockets of my advent calendar are filled with a strip of paper that has a craft or trip to do that day. The kids are just LOVING it!

I am posting about most of the crafts on my other blog (and more) here.

  1. Trip to Mt Rainier
  2. Fantasy Lights and Hot Cocoa
  3. If You Give A Mouse A Cookie the play
  4. Recycled paper ornament balls
  5. Special chocolate (I am going to be gone all day long)
  6. Cutting our tree with Daddy
  7. Beaded key chains for gifts
  8. Teasel hedgehog ornaments
  9. Paper crane ornaments
  10. Waldorf paper stars
  11. Watching a Christmas movie with popcorn
  12. Carmel apples
  13. Going to Zoo Lights with hot apple cider
  14. Button bracelets
  15. Painting recycled wrapping paper
  16. Pressed leaf glitter ornaments
  17. Bird seed pincones
  18. Chocolate dipped nuts and fruits
  19. Recycled carol lanterns
  20. Christmas cookies
  21. Paper snowflakes
  22. Paper egg ornaments
  23. Open your stocking!!

Any advent crafts or traditions in your house that you can't live without?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mushroom Spore Prints

According to the chart, getting firm specimens is really important when trying to get a good spore print. Some of these mushrooms were obviously older, being past their time to make spores and they decomposed into water. But a few of them made beautiful spore prints! I am excited to add this to our 'something to do' list.

Now that we have all of our information compiled, we are going to try to identify them. I have made a chart for such a purpose, and Alex is filling it out right now.

This is my favorite (#5):

I honestly didn't realise that mushroom undersides could look like this. I was so used to the gills. Even teacher learned something today!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wild Mushrooms

We spent Black Friday at home, hanging out. The boys got a hair cut, and we did some fun crafts. We watched a movie together and had hot cocoa, and then we went to a park and picked up litter. I was AMAZED at how much litter there was in this tiny little inner city park... we got 3 handle bags worth of litter and a gallon bottle of something that looked like Kool Aid (I wouldn't let the kids open it) in less than a half hour.

While we were collecting litter, I brought along a basket to gather wild mushrooms. I have had this 'life cycle of a mushroom' deck of cards for a long time and thought that now was the time to pull it out.

We found so many varieties and we were only there for a little while. I am excited to go back and find more kinds next time. We laid them all out on white paper, and then looked under them with a magnifying glass.

Then I had the kids cut the stems off and place them gills (or sponge) down to get spore prints tomorrow (which I will also put into a collage like I did the pictures to help us identify them later).

We are trying to figure out what they are, but I am SO new to this that I am not even sure how to teach the kids to identify them. We are not eating any wild mushrooms at all, although we love Chanterelles. But I am pretty sure that none of these are those.

For now we are using this chart:

And these books to help figure out the characteristics of them. Once we know what to look for, we will start to try and ideitify them. No worries though... my children and I will not be eating wild mushrooms any time soon.

This may have to be Logan's new t-shirt

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Famous homeschooling comments from today

We spent a lot of time in the car today. We got lost... and so we of course, took the moments that we had to 'teach'. Every homeschooler uses these moments right?

"Hey look kids... When Santa isn't at the north pole, he is holding a sign in Graham."

Don says "What has a tongue like this?" Don sticks his tongue out like a snake. And without a hitch, Logan says "A bison!!!"

Thank God for homeschooling. Lol...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Window stars and origami

Alex has been going crazy with the origami. He sold over $10 worth of his creations last weekend at the craft fair we went to. He is so good at it, and his work is beautiful and crisp.

I got him this book on Magical Window Stars for another paper folding activity, and he has loved making them so far! His first one was put in the nature case at the library to show the sun behind 'summer', and this is his second one:

He and I share the paper obsession. When he was little he used to like to make 'confetti'... which meant that he would take whole pieces of paper and cut them up into tiny bits, and then put them in a box or envelope. His paper crafts have grown with him and I am so proud of his latest works. They are beautiful and well done. He is becoming a master of folding paper and I am excited about having lots of Christmas decorations around the house made by him!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Feeding Elk... out of your car???

Yes. That is what we spent the day doing. We fed elk, out of the car. It was amazing. I can't even describe it in words... all I can do is show you pictures:

Oh, and tell you where we were. ;)

If you want the full sized slideshow (see all the bison slobber up close!) then click here. I'll fill in more details later.

More rainbow fun!

Remember this? We got it back from my friend a few months ago. But I knew Logan wasn't quite ready for it, so it has been sitting on a shelf until yesterday. I thought that it might go right along with the rainbow puddles game... and it did!

He quickly and easily figured out where each one went... even the gradual color change ones. The clothes pins are perfect for working on finger dexterity too!

I am still amazed at what a difference a few months can do for a child's skills. 7 months ago he just wanted to rip the stars off of these clothes pins. Now he can understand the color differences between light purple, dark purple, and violet and match them all up correctly. Their little brains are just amazing!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Milking Dairy Goats

Our food production studies have come a long way, although most are hard to discribe as I haven't been taking as many pictures as usual.

Last week it took us to a fun little farm that produces goats milk. The owner was a wonderful tour guide and she and her two homeschooled kids taught us how to milk a goat!

First comes grooming and reassurance. Then cleaning the utters to make sure no hair or dirt gets into the milk.

Then the milking:

And of course, goat conversation. ;)

The kids with their "I Milked A Dairy Goat!" ribbons.

For the love of Rainbow

It has been raining... a lot. Every night it storms and then each day it rains... all day long. We got a three hour respite yesterday and we were very grateful, but it was just enough to wet our appetites for more dry and sunny weather... and then it started raining again. So I took a trip to the craft store for things to do... and found these:

What can a mama do with a bag of 300 of these? Hmmm... lets find out. Today it was a story and a game for Logan.

The story is about 6 rainbow goblins who like to jump in mud puddles. They thought it was great fun. But each time they got out of a puddle they noticed that all of their jumping had caused the puddles to change to colorful paint! And when they looked up, the raindrops on their arms and legs had changed to paint too! They had to quickly put all of the drops of water back into the puddles where they belonged so the puddles would turn back to clear good water to drink because all of their jumping had made them very thirsty.

Logan loved matching up the raindrops to the puddles and hearing the story. I think I will stick with a rainbow theme for a while in our homeschool lessons. I am even trying to find/think up things for the older kids.

I was thinking of reading him the story of The Rainbow Goblins but decided that my modified version was better for the younger crowd. (In the book the sinister Rainbow Goblins plan to steal a rainbow out of Rainbow Valley and the flowers very effectively fight back. Good for older kids... but may have scary moments for the youngers.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Our nature table display

We have a chance to get our nature table collection in the library glass display case this month. Here are a few pictures:





I added a few books that we enjoy throughout the seasons.