Saturday, November 23, 2013

I'm thankful for...

A little list of the things I am thankful for so far this month:

~my sewing machine
~nature walks

~Time out for Women
~Fun family trips
~Cute hair cuts on little boys


~New Sunday clothes for April
~Old homeschool lapbooks from 4 years ago
~Beautiful birds at the bird feeders


~Fun art lessons
~A warm home
~Lunch at Applebees


~Christmas music on the radio
~My camera that captures beautiful pictures
~Hot cocoa


~Forgiveness, and being able to let things go
~Five in a row stories, particularly Cranberry Thanksgiving
~a clean bathroom


~ Yummy cranberry bread
~Thanksgiving break next week
~swim lessons with friends

~People who are great examples to me
~Membership to A.C. Gilbert house
~A homeschool bookstore called Exodus books


~ enjoying the fall season
~Beautiful colored leaves
~ Good books and stories to read


Portland aerial tram

Our little adventure field trip today was riding the Portland tram as a family!  We have been talking about trying it for a few years, and every time we drive up through Portland and pass it my kids remind/ask me "when are we going to go on that thing"?  Well, we've never had a need (thankfully!) to be up at OHSU hospital, so we've just never done it.  But today we did it just for fun.  We needed something fun to do today while we were out and about having my birthday lunch, so we decided this was it!

The kids were pretty excited when they finally figured out where we were going.  I started getting worried when I started thinking about the reality of getting into this thing.  Who's idea was this anyway?  I have a pretty bad fear of heights.  Nobody else in my family does.  Everybody was oohing and aaahing without any worry.  That's okay, I survived.  We all did, and it was a fun adventure with beautiful views. 

Top row:  1-Alex wasn't scared at all!  2-the stickers that the operator gave the boys.  3-Aaron thought it was awesome.  Middle row: The other tram going down while we were going up.  Bottom row:  1. April and Aric ready to go. 2. Mt. Hood was so white with all the new snow!  3. The freeways and city all looked so neat.

It's amazing that some people ride this thing on a daily basis to get up to the hospital.  What a beautiful view to have each day!


Sunday, November 10, 2013

My homeschool mother's journal: November 9th

So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?

In my life this week...

I spent most of the week still trying to get better from a cold that I had the previous week.  It was lingering, and making me feel run down even after the worst symptoms had disappeared.  My sore throat turned into me almost losing my voice completely, and I spent many nights coughing until the wee hours.  I still feel tired this weekend, but I think the congestion is finally clearing.  It's no fun for Mom to be sick, it's even worse when the recovery isn't as quick as you'd like it to be.

In our homeschool this week...

This week was definitely a big project week since I wasn't feeling well.  We made this Thanksgiving playset inspired by Creekside Learning.  It was a lot of fun to make.  Very involved, but I loved spending a few afternoons creating this with a few of the kids.  The Mayflower picture in the background was made by Aaron at co-op.  We still need to add in a log cabin, and some other things that would be fun to play with for Thanksgiving time.


We started reading The Boxcar Children together this week, so we made Crusty bread.  I found the idea at Delightful Learning, as well as the great Crusty Bread recipe.  The 3 little boys and I started it together.  They had fun each adding the ingredients, and taking turns mixing.  The next day we enjoyed eating bread while reading.  It was so perfect to go along with the part we were reading.  In this particular part they were eating bread, cheese, blueberries, and milk.

From the boxcar children:
 "Now Jessie liked to have things in order, and so she put the laundry bag on some pine needles for a tablecloth.  Then she cut the loaf of brown bread into five big pieces..."
Mixing up the bread:


The finished bread...


In our history this week we had a fun project.  We read about the Phoenecians, so we made some "fake glass" with crayon bits and melted them between wax paper as suggested in the activity manual. 


Here is what the finished project looked like. Aric's "glass" star...

  Aaron's glass star


 This is what our history time looks like while we are reading.  Usually everyone is coloring something while we listen.  We have come a long way in this process...

Do you notice the purple rit dye in this picture?  We are also planning to tie-dye some shirts purple, but haven't gotten to it yet.

Map work by Aaron.  Although everyone looked at the map at some point...


Alex's coloring page.  An old Egyptian coloring page I had in the pile is what he picked to color.


Aric colored the Phoenician ship.  I was very pleased with the time he took to color this, and how proud he was of it.


Of course ironing the crayons for the history project led to a little life lesson in ironing.  Both boys wanted to iron something for real.  So, that's what we did!  They got some white church shirts, and I gave them a little lesson on how to iron.

This picture is funny, but apparently the only one I got of Aaron.  I think I got him blinking.
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share...

Make laughter a part of your day.  Not always easy, I know.  Find something to laugh about.  Laughter is so good for you, and makes any situation light.  Your children love to hear you laugh with them, and you can even surprise them by laughing when they least expect it.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

On Monday we went to a homeschool friends house for book club, and watched a movie that went along with the book called The secret world of Arietty (a Disney movie).  Tuesday evening I went to ladies enrichment meeting at church.  We had a light dinner followed by a trip to the cannery to see the changes in how we can buy food storage from there.  Wednesday was co-op.  Thursday we had our get-together craft day with other homeschool friends.  Friday we tried out fit kids at the Kroc community center down in Salem.  After that we went on a little nature walk, and hit up the Salem library.  Saturday April and I did a cupcake decorating class at Jo-ann's in Salem.  That store was busy today!  Then we went out to the Willamette Humane Society to look at cats.  We may just be bringing home a furry friend soon!

My favorite thing this week was...

Looking at the cats with my family, hanging out with a few of them, and falling in love with a sweet little black and white kitten.

My kiddos favorite thing this week...

Aaron was very happy with his new Hexbug Aquabot Robotic Fish this week.  I could tell it was his favorite thing because he took a bath almost every night so he could watch it/play with it in the water.  He was excited to finally have money to go buy it this week.  He has been wanting one for a while.  They are pretty neat, such amazing technology we have today!


What's working/not working for us...

Everyday I'm asking the kids what they are thankful for, and they just verbally say it.  It is working for us because trying to write it down each day has not worked in past years.  I like the simplicity of just asking and talking about it.  I know it's still very meaningful to them.

Questions/thoughts I have...

What would you like to see me post more about here on my blog?

Things I'm working on...

We are going to do a nature study of woodpeckers this week, so I'm rounding up some fun activities and books. 

We're reading...

Have you heard of playaway books?  Well, we've recently discovered these at the library.  They are audio books that you just plug headphones into.  No mp3 player needed.  My little guys are so excited about these.

Well, Aric decided he wanted one too at the library earlier this week.  He picked out The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry, and has been listening to it all week. 


We also started reading The Boxcar Children together for a read-aloud this week.  This is my first time reading it, so I'm enjoying discovering this book along with the kids.

I'm grateful for...

A pantry, fridge, and freezer full of food.  So thankful we have plenty to eat.

Some photos to share...

These are pictures that are random and don't really belong in any of the other parts of this post, but I want to share them.

Aric wrote this story at church.  It's his first time really to write a whole story on his own (except for us helping him to spell).  It's a good milestone in his reading/writing progress.


Aaron came home from church on Sunday with this "poke" page that says "shine for others, CTR."  The image is on the other side, and poked through with a pin so you can see the light come through and make out the image on this side.  This picture didn't really capture it, but it almost looks like stars when held up to the light.  It was something that went with his lesson in class, I've enjoyed looking at it on the window all week.


Here are my dyed brown couches.  The lighting in this picture makes it look more reddish/pinkish, but it's not.  It's not bad, but I'm thinking of doing one more coat.  I was hoping for a little darker brown.  I'm very happy to not see every little dirt smudge though!


April really wants this polar bear from Costco to read with.  It's huge!


It was a great week!  How was yours?

I'm linking this up with The Homeschool mother's journal at So you call yourself a homeschooler.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

My homeschool mother's journal: Halloween week

So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?

In my life this week...I decided to dye my white couches over the weekend.  I love the white, but I couldn't take all the dirt smudges anymore.  They are now a Cocoa brown.  It was kind of fun, but I think I'm going to have to give them one more dunk in the brown to get them a little darker.  Maybe I'll share a picture later this week.

In our homeschool this week...

Aaron did his first book report.  Book reports are a new goal this year, especially for him.  I think this will really help with his reading/listening.  He did the paper book bag report found at the Magic Treehouse website.  He was actually really excited about this when I told him.  He loved finding items to put in the bag from the story, and drawing pictures on the outside of the bag to tell more parts of the story.  Then he presented his book report to the whole family at breakfast one morning before Daddy went to work.  The idea was that he tells about the things as he takes them out of the bag.  He was so thoughtful though and let his siblings each take one thing out of the bag for him.  Way to go!  Loved how he thought of getting his audience involved.  We also filled out the book bag report outline together.  He already wants to do another one.  Oh, and his report was about the Magic Tree house book # 50 "Hurry up Houdini!."


Aaron also finally finished up the state of California for his Road trip USA.  He made this postcard.  Then he wanted to send it to himself so it would have a stamp on it.

In science this week...

April finally did her first official experiment.  It's the Apologia General Science Experiment 1.1.  It is all about density and proving that atoms exist.  Pretty cool experiment.  I'd have to go get the book to explain it, but April totally got it, and even wrote a great explanation in her journal.  Aaron joined in with her for this experiment just for fun.  He thought it was fun to see how the grape, cork, and rock floated (or not) in different liquids.


 Tot school this week...

 Alex had a lot of halloween theme fun.  I pulled out this haunted house building game I made a few years ago.  All the kids had fun with this actually.


I laminated some leaves to do some counting with.

 He did some halloween ball sorting

He used halloween stickers to find the shapes as I called them out.  He started on the letter G tot school printables, and this is one of the sheets.

In art this week...

We made pumpkins and spider webs.  We did a lesson on drawing pumpkins from draw, write, now book # 2 using oil pastels as you can see in Aaron's picture below.  He loves using oil pastels.  That's his pumpkin drawing.  This kid is amazing me with his art skills this year, and he is discovering that he really does like art!


Aric got too frustrated with the pumpkins, so I'll show his spider web.  We used chalk pastels for this and used the Hodgepodge chalk pastels lesson.  He did pretty good, and I love how he decided to add a tree in the background.  It looks like you are looking at the spider web really close up how he drew it.
Aaron's spider web.  He liked the tree idea and decided to put his web between 2 trees.

April's picture of Mt. Hood for her online art class.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share...

Don't stress about how each day is going to go.  Just enjoy each moment as it comes.  Do your best, and always hope for the best.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

We went to the library, and co-op as usual.  For our special activities this week... On halloween day we went up to Portland to visit a friend.  Ended up going to Chuck 'e cheese for lunch.  Then we rushed back home to go trick or treating at the outlet mall with Rya and her kiddos (our homeschool friends).  On Friday morning April's Scholar class (from co-op) was getting together to watch a Shakespeare play, so we dropped her off there and went shopping at Target.  After the Shakespeare play we came back to town just in time to join our friends at Pizza Hut to redeem our Book-it coupons.  (Pizza 2 days in a row wasn't originally on my plan, oh well!)  On Friday night we had our trunk or treat at church.  It was kind of fun to have one more day of halloween.  On Saturday Aric had his last soccer game, and he scored his first goal!  Then, we went to The Portland Aquarium as a family later in the day.

My favorite thing this week was...

All the halloween fun, and trick or treating with friends.

My kiddos favorite thing this week was...

Aric loved that I was a substitute teacher for his class at church last Sunday.  He loved that I had a fun train craft for his class too.  The lesson was about being honest, so we made honesty "trains."  Here is Aric's hanging up on the front door.  This activity was found here at the website.


Some photos to share...

From halloween

The kids' pumpkins...

A skeleton...

a green crayon...

a crayon box...

Merida from Brave...
(credit goes to Grandma for making that beautiful dress)

The younger boys and their friends.  We loved trick-or-treating with them!

My gang...

Some of the trick-or-treating action.  We hit almost every store that was giving out candy.  Amazing how they didn't get tired at all, but when we go shopping they can hardly make it to 2 stores :-)
 IMG_4792 IMG_4791 IMG_4788

That's all for this week!

I'm linking this up with The Homeschool mother's journal at So you call yourself a homeschooler.

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