Jul 31, 2008

FINALLY - she got a pic!

She finally did it....KM got a pic Oreo. I don't know how, but she did. She wanted me to make sure that I pointed out that he is not a "Black Cat" as he has a white spot on his chest and belly, so he is not scary at all. However these pics make him look a bit scary to me as his eyes are all weird, but anyway this really is a feat as he is hardly in the house long enough to eat and when he is he usually hides under, behind or on top of the most absurd things.

Jul 30, 2008

Final Summer Art Class

For the final class they sponge painted paper and made origami wallets...

I love the mix of colors that she chose. The shades of purple look just right.

This one reminds me of fall leaves.

This is a mini one that she made so that she can remember the right way to fold it.

She is sad that this class is over so soon, but we are discussing her taking a cartooning class in the fall with the same teacher. We will see what comes of that.

Jul 28, 2008

Are we spoiled?

Disclaimer: for those of you who read this and aren't homeschoolers I truly apologize ahead of time and suggest that maybe you skip reading this entry. I would also like to reiterate the fact that we have only been homeschooling for 8 mo, so for those of you who are homeschoolers I believe you will truly understand what I mean by this...

KM and I took a trip into the Museum of Science today. I just got an annual membership a few weeks ago because she has always loved going and exploring this museum and with all the other benefits you get with a membership I managed to work it into our homeschool budget. So I planned this day in so that I could really look around and see how I could incorporate what they have with what we were planning on learning in science this year.

We started out -as always - in the math section. KM was a little bit disappointed as three of her favorite areas were down and needing repairs. In all the times we had gone to this museum we had never managed to see the whole Lightning Show presentation that they have so we decided to head in there early to make sure we got a clear view. We parked ourselves on the second level so that we could get a really good view of the lightning, but not too far away from the speaker. We had been sitting there for about 15 minutes waiting patiently for the show and when it started there was a sudden mad dash of people hovering in around us. This women with her three very young children shoved her way onto the end of the bench we were sitting on and her son kept poking KM who was trying very hard to listen to the description and be polite to the young boy at the same time. At the first crack of lightning all three of her kids let out these unbelievable ear piercing screeches, to the point the man running the show (a level below us mind you) said "and that is why we don't recommend having young children present!" Glad he said it cause I was thinking it. She took her children out of the room and we would have thoroughly enjoyed the remainder of the show if people hadn't kept pushing in around us. We were sitting on a bench with no back and I just don't understand how in those types of situations all respect of other's personal space is shoved out the window. The just keep inching forward and leaning in on you - it drives me CRAZY!

After the show we went and got lunch, checked out the live animal center where they have endangered and rescued animals, and then into the Science in the Park area - another of KM's favorites. In here the children were running everywhere, pushing and shoving, paying no attention to who was in line next just getting to where they wanted to go. I also noticed that there were quite a few attractions that were being repaired in this area as well. We then decided to go through my favorite area the butterfly exhibit, we got our tickets and while we waited for our time slot to come up we walked through and area I don't really remember ever seeing before...

This whole area had all different optical illusions and art pieces.

Maybe she will do her chores now?

This one showed how photography had developed through the ages. When you clicked the trigger it showed how differently images looked through the lens of cameras throughout their development.

Then it was time to go visit the butterflies...

These were some of the better pics of the day. I didn't get as many from the area as I usually do because we had to be ushered through because there were a few boys that were trying to "free" the butterflies.

As we were leaving this exhibit I asked KM where she wanted to head next and I was very surprised when she said, "Would you mind if we headed home?" Now it is not like we had just gotten there we were coming up close on our 4th hour in the Museum, but the surprising part was that I usually have to fight the "can we just look at this - I didn't get to look at that though" the whole way out of the museum, through the lobby and into the parking garage. When I asked her why she said - "I just really think we should come back in September." Out of the mouths of babes as they say & I must say I gladly agreed with her.

Museums are different places when Public/Private/Traditional/Whatever Schools are in session. If you are not a homeschooler and you don't believe me, keep your kids home for a "family field trip" one of these days and you will see what I mean! As I said in the beginning those of you who homeschool surely understand what I am talking about.

Please understand that it is not that I think that other people don't know how to behave in these situations or that they don't have a right to be there as that is not the case. I just think that we have been spoiled by being able to go to the museums, gardens, parks, movies, etc during "regular" school hours when there are not gobs and gobs of people attending. I also feel sorry for the children & parents for that matter, who are rushed through these exhibits and barely get a chance to really see what they are about because either someone else is waiting or they need to get through the entire museum in one day. I am glad that our family is fortunate enough to be able to really enjoy the museum at our own pace - at least 9 months out of the year we are anyway!

Jul 25, 2008

2nd Anniversary

Today is the 2nd Anniversary of Noni's passing - it seems like yesterday really. I don't know how 2 years has gone by in such a blink. I think this year we are all feeling it more as their is less chaos around. Last summer SC was born and we were planning MC's wedding so although we missed her terribly there was too much to get done to leave any time to process feelings.

MC's & my relationship has become stronger through these two years without a doubt. There have always been times when we want to maim one another, but hey doesn't that happen with all sisters. Our mother was our rock in everything that we did. She had most of the answers and when she didn't she knew the words to say to help you figure it out on your own. There were those times of course when the answers that she gave were not the ones that we wanted to hear, but they were always the ones we needed.

Noni loved her grandkids more than anything in the world. She would have done anything for them. She always said that since she couldn't have children herself that the greatest gift that she ever received was being able to see KM be born. They had such an incredible bond with one another. I am so glad that I was able to share that with her. I truly believe that she is watching over SC every day. There are times that I wonder if SC is talking to her as well because every so often she looks up toward the ceiling with this concentrating look on her face and babbles away. I hope that she is.

So MC & I are heading off to the cemetery this morning with the girls and then to have lunch with some of our Great Aunts & Uncles. The torrential rain has finally cleared so we are hoping that Noni will make sure the humidity stays down as well. In memory of Noni I thought I would post the poem that was printed on her prayer cards:

Mother, A Light
A light is from our household gone,
a voice we loved is still,
a place is vacant in our home,
that never can be filled.
You can only have one mother,
patient, kind and true,
no other friend in all the world,
will be the same to you.
When other friends forsake you,
to mother you will return,
for all her loving kindness,
she asks nothing in return.
As we look upon her picture,
sweet memories we recall,
of a face so full of sunshine,
and a smile for one and all.
Sweet Jesus take our message,
to our dear mother up above,
tell her how we miss her,
and give her all our love.
May She Rest in Peace.

Added later in the day:

We stopped and got some flowers and KM wanted me to take some pictures of all the pretty things we had added. This was also the first time that SC was awake at the cemetery, so I got some cute pics of her helping...

We added the flowers in the front and KM brought a small vase that you can just barely see that had Noni's favorite flowers from our yard in it.

SC wants to be just like her mommy, so when MC put the shovel down and stepped away for a second SC was there to try the shovel work too.

After watching me and KM make several trips to the water spicket with the Dunkin Donuts cup ~~of course we forgot the watering can, but at least we remembered the shovel this time~~ SC decided she would go over and try to get the spicket to work as well...luckily it was too hard for her to turn.

After the cemetery we had a wonderful lunch with our favorite Great Aunt! She is the most wonderful women in the world. Then we headed to the next house over to see my favorite Uncle. KM and I went wandering through his garden and he sent us home with enough veggies for a week. It was a good swap though because the only thing he didn't grow this year was lettuce - the one thing I have TONS of since the torrential rainstorms knocked mine over. It was a very very nice afternoon!!!

Jul 23, 2008

Summer Art Class Week 4

Today's class was on weaving...very interesting use of left over yarn and straws!!! I will post directions after KM teaches me how to do it! Not really sure what she will use it for but I am sure she will think of something...

Jul 22, 2008

One Word

I found this on Learning Adventures and thought I would give it a try. All answers can only be one word - NO MORE:

1. Where is your cell phone? bag
2. Your significant other? working
3. Your hair? brown
4. Your mother? angel
5. Your father? veteran
6. Your favorite thing? learning
7. Your dream last night? huh?
8. Your favorite drink? Pepsi
9. Your dream/goal? Happiness
10. The room you’re in? Bedroom
11. Your church? None
12. Your fear? loneliness
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? here
14. Where were you last night? outside
15. What you’re not? pretentious
16. Muffins? corn
17. One of your wish list items? window
18. Where you grew up? Massachusetts
19. The last thing you did? awoke
20. What are you wearing? pajamas
21. Your TV? Off
22. Your pets? everywhere
23. Your computer? laptop
24. Your life? Enjoyable
25. Your mood? Peaceful
26. Missing someone? yes
27. Your car? Freelander
28. Something you’re not wearing? Shoes
29. Favorite store? Trader's
30. Your summer? Restful
31. Like(love) someone? Deeply
32. Your favorite color? Purple
33. Last time you laughed? Earlier
34. Last time you cried? Yesterday
35. Who will re post this? hmmmm....

If you post please leave a comment and link so that I can check out your answers...Have a great day.

Jul 21, 2008

Rainy Day FUN!!

One of the things that Noni was ALWAYS known for was letting the kids do things that their parents generally would not be too keen on them doing - Mud puddles was always a big one. So today when it was 90 out and it started to rain and KM asked if she could go out in the rain I said

"Why Not?"

I grabbed the baby, a ball and the hippo and out we went to play in the wonderful summer rain!
Although I was not brave enough yet to let the baby go crazy in the mud - I must ease into that one I think!!! - I did let her get absolutely soaked, stomp in puddles and push her self around on her hippo!

SC was not too sure exactly what we were doing out there when it was downpouring at first, but after a few minutes she really started getting into it and when it got too much for her she figured out that she could go across the stones to the dry porch and take a break for a second!

We had a wonderful, refreshing, cool afternoon in the rain!!!

Jul 18, 2008

Don't want them to get jealous!

KM said that since I put Gracie's picture in my blog yesterday, she thought it was only fair that she take pics of the dogs - so...

Connie - our oldest

Dixie - the middle princess

Rex - the youngest (of the canines!)

KM has decided that she will attempt to get a pic of our other cat Oreo today - don't know how she will get him to stay still long enough, but I wished her luck!!!

Jul 16, 2008

Summer Art Class Week 3

This is KM's 2nd completed project from her Summer "Be Creative" art class. If you can't tell these are sandals made from newspaper and some ropes. KM has been trying to be as ecofriendly as she possibly can, so she was very excited about recycling newspaper for this project!
As you can see though it is a rather simple project - newspaper, tape, twine, a little bit of glue and scissors is all that is needed, It actually took them two classes to complete it because of the folding of the paper. "It had to be folded just right, you see..." she explained when I asked how they had made it!

So although I wouldn't recommend wearing them to the beach, the pool or in the rain...these are a pretty cool recycling project to stomp around the house in and the kids had a great time creating them!

Two times the fun!!

My yoga instructor suggested that I get some large exercise balls to help stretch out my lower spine, where I used to have a lot of sacral & sciatic pain. I finally got around to getting them and SC found them this morning -

She spent a good 1/2 hour just drumming away on them!!! They are nearly as big as her!

Jul 14, 2008

Slowing Down

Things have been quiet around here lately - KNOCK ON WOOD! Not too much going on, so I have been kinda quiet on my blog as well! It does not get like this very often and therefore I feel that I must treasure it even more! We have been reading a lot!

I have caught up on lots of magazine reading - I have a tendency to mark off articles when the magazine arrives that I HAVE to read and then take months to get to them! I have Yoga Journals going back to March that I have barely looked at!

I am halfway through Remember Me? by my favorite contemporary author - Sophie Kinsella! Every story she has ever had published ROCKS!!! They are just really feel good, make you chuckle, real life funny kinda stories. I have trouble with these books because I tend to not want to put them down. I have to really set aside time to read them when I can enjoy them, so that time tends to be during the summer. Sit by the pool while the kids are going crazy and read.

KM & I are waiting for Sea Monsters by Rick Riordan (Book 2 in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series) to arrive so that we can continue reading this awesome series. It is amazing how it has sparked this HUGE interest in greek mythology for KM - so much so that I have been thinking about restructuring our history plans for the fall. I am thinking of focusing on the ancient civilizations and the different religions, stories, myths and such from each time period and how people would react to them today. There is a lot out there and I think this would be a good point to start ancient civilizations with as it was such a huge part of every aspect of their lives.

This leads me to think about how I am starting to grasp the concept of unschooling and child-led learning more. I am not ready to go there at this point, but I do want to focus on what KM is actually interested in for Science, Social Studies & Reading. I want to tailor the learning and subjects that get covered within these broad areas to increase her interest, willingness and drive to want to learn! She is starting to get back the understanding that she used to have that learning is not a punishment - it is a privilege that needs to be appreciated.

Jul 9, 2008

Summer Days - Homeschool Light!

I had planned on blogging about KM's latest work of art from her class today, but that plan got changed as this one is a two part project that has to be completed next week ~ and it is a secret - she swears she won't tell - I think I may get it out of her before next week though.

So instead I thought I would share what our day was like - lots of people have been asking "what does homeschool 'light' mean?" and today would be a great example of it.

KM got up this morning just as SC was arriving, so they ate breakfast and then we hurried out the door to her 9:30 art class (still don't know what I was thinking?!?). SC came back to the house and hung out for the hour playing peek-a-boo and trying to sort through some of her toys, collected the books & workbooks for the library and then went back to pick-up KM.

We then headed to the library where since the heat has been scorching and we have yet to succumb to bringing the AC's out I thought it would be a nice chance for KM to get some workbook work done in the cooler environment. I followed the waddling SC around as she gave speeches to everyone she saw and tried to track down every Elmo in the place - there are an alarming number of them there actually. KM finished up her workbooks rather quickly under the cooling conditions, - it was less than 20 minutes - choose a few books, videos and computer games, played with a few puzzles and puppets with SC and we headed home for lunch.

During lunch we watched the "Mommy Teach Me Spanish" DVD - it is a great refresher for some of the basic things for KM and she has the excuse of SC to fall back on if anyone asks why it is there and it drives my sister a little crazy that I am teaching my niece Spanish when she can't speak English yet, but hey it is never too early to start and by the time SC is 20 it will probably be government mandated that everyone speak it!

After lunch I took SC in for a nap and KM worked on a fact sheet about Aphrodite - we are building our own lapbook/unit study since we started reading the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series by Rick Riordan - SUPERB read aloud I must say! - and then she emptied the dishwasher.

Just as KM was finished with the dishwasher - literally 24 minutes after she fell asleep, as she still barely sleeps for me - SC popped her head up and said "Hi" - the one and only true English word that she can say! She was all hot and clammy, but I didn't really feel like going in the pool - then it hit me ~~

We hadn't shown SC the Slip & Slide yet!!!

Here she is proclaiming the rules of the Slip & Slide! This is what she does - sticks her hand out and chatters and chatters and chatters!

And she is DOWN!!!

She is ready to hit the waves dude!

KM tried to explain to SC how to do it but,

She really seemed to prefer the wave pool!!!

Shortly after that MC came and picked up SC and KM dove into the big pool! I decided to head in with her and we played basketball with this mini-hoop set that we got at the dollar store last week! Of course it is smaller than KM thought, but what can you expect for a $1?

It was 4:30pm and still 93 out so CJ decided to pick up subs for dinner - yippee no grilling!! After dinner KM checked the recycle bin and dumped the compost bucket, while I finished picking up SC's toys and vacuuming. CJ headed back out to do a side job and KM and I finished reading "The Lightning Thief".

KM is now playing "My Sims" on the Wii as I sit here trying to blog as she asks which outfit looks better?

So this is "homeschool light" in our world - doing a little work each day during the summer will give us the opportunity to have more down and play time during the PS "school" year when we can go places without lines or crowds. - Do you homeschool in the summer? Full on or light?

Jul 7, 2008

Home Improvement Shopping

We spent nearly 3 hours at Home Depot this evening!!! We thought it was gonna be a nice quick in and out trip grab the couple of things that we needed and be done - OF COURSE NOT!

We are very much do-it-yourself-ers around here and we often have several projects going on at once. ~~~ Of course I should probably clarify right here that "WE" refers to me coming up with what I want done in the house and CJ helps me to come up with the final plan and then he does 90% of the work and I help 10% of the time, but am really just trying to not drive him crazy. Although I am handy with tools and am willing to help, I am not a person who can visualize an outcome if it is not drawn out in front of me and I am a bit of a control freak by nature so I either need to be told exactly what to do or be the one planning every detail and delegating. CJ and I do not work together for long periods of time because there would be bloodshed for sure! So although I would be more than willing to do more than 10% he doesn't really want me to and if I did more someone would be injured!

We also never have a ton of extra money to get one area done all at once and we try to not use credit unless we absolutely have to ~ so we do bits and pieces. For instance last year we put laminated wood flooring in our kitchen and dining room, got a new front door and replaced a leaking window. The year before we installed storm windows to cut the oil costs, installed a dishwasher and replaced a cabinet with a three drawer unit. So you see we very randomly do things here and there depending on the funds and the need.

Here is where my rant comes in ~ I don't understand why it is that every time we go somewhere like this what we are looking for is either out of stock, discontinued or is now "Special Order"? We had to wait forever to find someone to help us, then we find that all they have is white cabinets - everything other than white is special order. WHAT!!! So I ask to speak to someone else because I just can't understand this - seriously I cannot get my brain to comprehend no options but WHITE! Oh but wait - the little lady who just came around the corner says we have a "few" natural maple options left hiding on the top shelves. THANK THE GODS! So we have been in the store for almost an hour and a half now and have been shown some cabinets, but now we are looking for the doors and again ONLY WHITE!!! I swear I felt like my head was going to explode. We again needed to find someone and where told "Oh yes we have them but we are going to have to get the machine over to get them down for you." Are you serious! So we sit and wait - another 4o minutes. Luckily we got blocked into the end of the aisle that had the countertops so we got to browse those as we waited for the men to get our doors down for us. While we were sitting there we also realized they do this because then you either have to order the more expensive special order items or you have to order their FULL install cabinet sets. As we were sitting there waiting and discussing this KM spoke up and said "Hey - it's supply and demand! What are you gonna do about it?" Exchange City did actually sink in somewhere!

So although it took forever - at least it felt that way - we did manage to get everything we were suppose to, they were very close to what we wanted, we managed to remain within our budget and we had a great economic discussion! Guess you have to take the good with the bad at times.

Jul 3, 2008

Hooray for Lapbooks!

I came across this lapbooking thing a few months ago and we had decided to try it out over the summer. I really really like the idea of it! KM thought that this was going to be a great alternative to doing reports - which of course she detests!
I had downloaded a few totally piece together ones from currclick.com and Homeschoolshare.com as I thought we would try these out first to get the hang of it. However KM decided that since she had studied the pre-revolutionary American period up to the Declaration of Independence she wanted to try making one for the 4th of July. We found one on the revolution, then took some coloring pages and clipart from other places and here is what we came up with:

Not too bad for our first shot!!! She was amazed at how many of the answers she knew off the top of her head. I guess this whole immersive learning thing is working and lapbooking will absolutely be a big part of our summer!!!
Hope everyone has a Fun, Happy & Safe 4th of July!!!