Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our spring bugs arrived

Ladybugs and butterflies are Here! We ordered them from Insect Lore. We already had the butterfly house net from last year but the ladybug cage was a new fun adventure. Oh how strange the lady bugs are. Raising bugs is so fascinating for a five year old. Number one, they change so quickly and number two they change so dramatically. We have to make sure the ladybugs have water, but the caterpillars are self contained until they turn into butterflies. The first thing we did after settling our new insects in their habitats was to measure them. Ladybugs were 1/2 cm and the Caterpillars were 1 cm.
adding water to the ladybugs

look how tiny the caterpillars are
one cm long ~caterpillars

1/2 cm long lady bugs

Leap day

Does anyone else's cat attend school too? Our little cat just loves to be involved in school. She always comes when we are reading stories and it's very interesting the look she has, like 'yes, continue...' Today we are working on coin counting. Part of this idea came from the lovely Mailbox magazine. There were addition questions on the cupcakes. That was part A. The second part was the adding the coins to pay for the cupcake. So she had to know what each coin is worth and how she could pay using the different combinations of coins. This game went very well. We used a small muffin tray to sort the coins first then I had made an aide for her to see the worth of each coin, incase she forgot. 
Later we practiced our numbers on the blackboard.
And don't forget talking about Leap Day. We briefly talked about how this day was special because it only comes around every 4 years. We also talked about what leaps. And this is her drawing of a frog. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sunny day

Oh a nice sunny warm day! We spent the whole afternoon enjoying the fresh air. There are lots of plants starting to show signs of new life. The rose bush in the from is growing new leaves. We made some science notes and questions while digging in the front garden. Like what color will the roses be when they bloom, and what kind of bugs can you find under the leaves. Then she made a little fairy house out of the fallen branches and even included a bath tub for them:) Later when the leaves and twigs had served their purpose of entertainment we ventured around the neighborhood for a spring scooter ride. Which was a lovely way to practice balance and speed control. 

Sugar camp continued

Here are more pictures from our field trip to sugar camp. We tasted the maple syrup once we saw how it was made, and it was soooooo good. 

Here is an example of the stag horn sumac tree branch. Inside the middle of the branch is a cork like substance the is easily pushed out to create a wooden straw.

kettles over the fire for making the syrup

an old fashioned clamp.

Sugar camp

This is the season that the sap is running and in the next county over they were providing an incredible opportunity to experience how to make Maple Syrup the old fashion way. We went with other homeschool families and learned how to tap the trees, collect the sap and boil it into syrup. The guides were very wonderful and gave thorough explanations for the children. We  learned that if you tap the side of the tree in the shade there won't be much sap running because that side of the tree is not warm enough. But if you tap the side with the sun by morning you'll have a bucket full of refreshing sugar water. It tasted so delicious. The guides also taught how to make a wooden spile by using a sumac branch. Then they demonstrated drilling the tree and placing the stile (wooden straw) into the tree. We helped collect the sap from the trees they had tapped the day before and carried it to the kettles to boil over the open flame. We also learned how the Native Americans would return to the maple tree area every spring to collect the sap and make sugar discs by boiling the sap until it became grainy. Then they would place the grainy mixture in a mold of a nut shell and let it dry to become discs, a portable way to carry around. We learned so much and couldn't have asked for better weather. 


Friday, February 24, 2012

Many steps for one food

Bread! warm, homemade bread!
 Reading recipes, measuring volume, understating fractions, delight of watching wheat turn to flour,  science of yeast, commitment of time to create something nutritious for your family. Oh how we love making bread. The best part of making bread (besides the aroma and taste) is punching down the dough. 
Once I watched this movie called How to cook your life, (netflix:)-it was basically showing how disconnected people have become on preparing nutritious food. "When your cooking, your not just working on the food you are working on yourself." One idea I took away from the movie was that our hands are meant to prepare the food we eat, the peeling of potatoes and slicing of carrots and kneading of warm dough. When we start to leave these steps out our hands are left with this empty disconnected experience. What are your ideas on food being  precious.? When you change how you look at food~ precious~ you may see your eating habits change, and therefore your life. 
Which brings on a whole other topic of priority list, what priority do you list whole food on your schedule? 
life Lesson~ Bread doesn't come from a bag:)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spring in February?

Climate change is a mystery. We've all been saying it's only February, we still have a month of winter or it's the middle  of winter, yes you have to wear a coat. But then today while visiting Great Granny, there next to the house, are a lovely bunch of spring daffodils. And the sun is soo warm. We took Great Granny around to switch out the Christmas wreaths for some flowers at the cemetery today. The weather was perfect. Our five year old  has been a few times now to help with this showing of respect. The first time she wasn't sure of her role or duty. She is learning the importance of going to visit the resting places from Great Granny's stories and dedication. She has picked the task of sweeping off the tombstone to be the most helpful from her perspective. When we returned to Great Granny's the boys played a few rounds of Uno and had a slice of homemade pecan pie.

Life Lessons:

Reverence~ Awareness of how God is working through the people and events in my life to produce the character of Christ in me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dance recital

Ballerina Doll
These are some of our favorite shots of our little Ballerina from her mini Dance Recital. 

Money presidents

President's Day came along a nice time with us studying coins and money. We're working on the names of coins and the amounts. She was ill today but still wanted to do some school. We talked about how Thomas Jefferson(Nickel), Franklin D Roosevelt (Dime) and Abraham Lincoln (Penny) were lawyers. Then decided that we should check out a book on what IS a lawyer the next time we are at the library. On another note, I use The Mailbox idea magazine a lot for quick games and ideas. The magazine is good for two months of ideas and is found at teach supply stores or online. I like the pull out posters. With only having one student, it's difficult to justify buying certain resources since they'll only be used once. But this magazine is great because it has large colorful posters or pull out games that make my job a little easier and cheaper:)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents day

examining rocks
in a recreated cave
a tree from California that grew in 535
Our friends from church were out of school for President's Day so we joined them for an outing to the children's museum. Lola had so much fun with the girls. She really loved the recreated caves. Mommy really liked the history part where they had made models of the city with real trains. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Noticing Details

New detail updated... Drawing the sun all these years included the yellow lines out to make the shine... Well, on our car ride to Granny's she drew the sun with the rays. Then erased them and informed us that she notices that the sun doesn't really have those rays. It's really just a yellow ball. 
Just notes for a mommy:)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Field trip Friday

zoo at the library? We love the library's free programs and this one was a whopper! The Animal Tales Company shared a very lively show with lots of unique animals. Our favorite was the mongoose, who... wait for it....... got LOOOSE at the library..... It was soooo funny. And cool.

Morning Games Meow?

Our cat is very playful. She likes to do what ever we are doing. We had some down time this morning to play some games. Duchess wanted to play too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Art technique

We have this great book, I bought at the Art museum in Philly called Discovering Great Artists~ hands on art for children in the style of the great masters.  We discussed today how artists use different techniques to create art. We flipped through the pages and discussed the different ways to paint- water color, tempera or drawing with chalk or pencil  or how some artists sculpt with wood or clay or metal or how some use tin and make reliefs. We took books off the shelf in the living room to show how some artists paint realistically or cartoonish. We talked about how some people make real things and some people make things they see in their dreams. So after a lot of discussion and viewing I asked her what kind of art would she like to make to day ( I was so hoping for the tinfoil relief project:)- she said she wanted to mold with clay. She made several very detailed animals. It was fun to watch her ideas come to life. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


This book was such a sweet story we found it at the library. I read it, then she read it, then she read it to her cat:) She also received two lovely surprises from her California friends. Happy Valentine's Day! We Love YOU!

Valentines Morning

The usual dance and library morning. We found some puzzles to do at one of the centers. That was fun. While I was making some sweets for our sweets tonight, I had the Doll tell me names of those she loves so that I could put them on hearts and she made them into a love mobile.  Then when our brownie cake was done she helped me add the hearts:)