Friday, December 20, 2013

Cranberry Thanksgiving (FIAR)

This is such a great heartwarming story.  We rowed Cranberry Thanksgiving just before Thanksgiving, but I wish we had had more time for this one.  With Thanksgiving coming it got kinda busy, so we didn't get to it all, but we did do some fun things.

Here are some of the stories we had around, including Cranberry Thanksgiving.  This was the first year we read Cranberry Thanksgiving.  I happily added it to our collection.


 We watched Dirty Jobs: Cranberry Farmer which interestingly is filmed at a cranberry farm in Oregon!  The boys loved watching this, so we watched it a few times.  I was glad to find that it was on Netflix so we easily had access to the episode. 


We played this Thanksgiving matching game from make learning fun.


We of course made the cranberry bread recipe from the back of the book.  It turned out delicious, but of course the kids decided they don't like cranberries.


We had fun in a "cranberry bog."



We did some coloring and crafts.  


We learned about the New England states.  This is where a lot of cranberry farms are found, and where the story takes place.  It was a great lesson for the boys to learn about the New England states.  They also learned about how states have 2 letter abbreviations.  We learned all the abbreviations for these states.  We made this poster with some of the things that these states are known for.  This will be where we begin back into the states studies in the new year!  We'll study each state individually.





This is one of the neatest pages in the book.  The shadows of Maggie, Grandmother, and Mr. Whiskers in the firelight eating Thanksgiving pie.


So we attempted to create a similar scene with each boys shadow profile.
They did a pretty good job.  Bottom left is Alex's, bottom right is Aric's, and the top middle picture is Aaron's.  The other 2 pictures are just creations that they came up with while painting their fire background.


Just before we left for Grandma's house we had some science mixing fun with our soda bottle test tubes.  The kids kept asking what we could mix up in them, so I came up with a fun little random activity that sort of ties into thanksgiving.

I grabbed various items from the pantry.  I tried to think of items that would be found in thanksgiving dishes, but I didn't have everything, so I just grabbed whatever I thought would be interesting in a mixture of some sort.

I had (from left to right) sixlets, popcorn kernels, vanilla pudding, pecans, marshmallows, brown sugar, jell-o, candy corn, oatmeal, and vanilla.


There's really no rhyme or reason to this, it was just a fun we're ready to go but lets do something sciency and almost gross before our thanksgiving break type activities.

I let them choose to add to any test tube: syrup, water, cranberry juice, and milk.

You know what, they loved it.  We predicted what would happen to each food before they added in the liquid.


They each had a turn.


Here's the results.  Syrup was the most popular liquid to add.


We all thought the candy corn looked the coolest.


We also did a lapbook from Homeschool share for Cranberry Thanksgiving, but for some reason I have no pictures of it.  Maybe I'll add them later.  

This was yet another great five in a row study!

  I'm linking this up with Delightful Learning's five in a row volume 1 link up.

Delightful Learning


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas fun--popcorn strings

This is quickly becoming one of our favorite traditions.  We made popcorn and cranberry strings to go along with the book Night tree.  This is a new story for us this year, and I have to say that I've got it in my Amazon cart now.  Definitely one I want to add to our collection!

The family goes out to the "forest" and finds their tree to decorate with fruits and food for the animals. 


We made popcorn strings last year, but thought it was a fun idea to add cranberries this year.


April decorated one of her bird feeders with her string.  She has a lot of birds coming by everyday!


Those little hands got tired real fast, and I ended up finishing his.



They look so pretty on the tree.


We'll put ours out for the birds after Christmas.  Or, maybe sooner.


We didn't make nearly enough strings to cover the whole tree.  Maybe when they're older they'll have more patience to do more.


Here's April's thistle feeder with finches all over it.  It was so fun to watch them this morning.  And, you can see her cranberry and popcorn string there.  We saw a few of the birds take a nibble at it.



Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for beautiful frost in the morning.
It has been a long while since I've taken the time to write up a thankful post.  I have had a few things that have been weighing on my mind this week in a very negative way, but I'm thankful that I have been able to find my thankful heart today.  It is amazing how much that really helps to get rid of those negative thoughts.

~I'm thankful that you can find obvious signs of Christmas at our house.  The decorations, the music, the fun activities.
~I'm thankful for plastic bins that hold toys.  I know it's simple, but as I was cleaning up today I couldn't help but think how thankful I was for this box to move all these toys out of the way when they are done being played with.
~I'm thankful for Christmas cards.  I get a little excited about them, and I love how ours turned out this year.  I can't wait to send ours out tomorrow.
~I'm thankful for Aaron being able to have his friend from Salem come over one day this week.  They had such a great time.  This is the first time that he's really had a "best" friend.
~I'm thankful for being able to drive by possible houses to buy in Salem, and feeling happy about Salem.  I don't know if that's where we'll end up, but I'm sure thankful to feel like that's the direction we should head now.  That narrows our search down a lot!
~I'm thankful for all the Christmas books and stories we can check-out from the library.  There is an amazing amount of children's Christmas books.  We have discovered a lot of new books this year, I'm thankful for that too.
~I'm thankful that Michele will be on break with us in 2 days.  We are looking forward to a fun few weeks with Christmas and New Years!  We are blessed to have Daddy home with us everyday at this time of year.
~I'm thankful that we could do a little Christmas caroling this week, and take cupcakes to a few friends.  It was our first year caroling, and the kids really liked it.  I'm thankful they were brave enough to open their mouths and sing, and that they wanted to!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

My homeschool mother's journal: Dec. 13

So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?

Life this week...

It was busy!  It was super cold!  That pretty much sums it up.  No snow fun to go with the cold though.  Looking forward to a Christmas break here real soon!

Homeschool this week...

We did mostly math and science.  I really wanted to get a whole week of our new Sonlight science B in before we take Christmas break.  My kids love science, and they loved doing it almost everyday this week.  Even on co-op day we came home and did science!  I'm really looking forward to getting into it more after Christmas!

Christmas stocking matching game:
The boys loved making a magnet sock matching game one day for part of their magnet science.  I forgot to take pictures when they played it the first time, so here is Alex happily playing for me later.  You are supposed to play this blind folded, take turns, and then see how many matches you end up with.  The big boys had fun playing it that way, but Alex is too young to get it.  He just liked fishing for the stockings.





April had a science experiment from her General science.  It was chemical reactions.  There were 2 reactions.  The first was watching the purple cabbage water change to pink when poured into the vinegar in the bottle.



The second reaction was adding baking soda to the vinegar to create the bubbles that we all love with any baking soda and vinegar experiment, but this time she captured the gas from the bubbles to blow up a balloon.  She did it a couple of times because it was fun, and her brothers liked watching it too.

She is really enjoying the Exploring Creation with General Science book.  She has been doing the reading great, and can do the experiments (mostly) on her own really well.  I have to admit that we haven't been moving through it very quickly.  She is still on Module 1 (and has been since the beginning of the school year).  It really has to be done daily (lots of reading), which we started doing this last week.  I think she may actually get somewhere if we make it a daily subject!

Helpful homeschool tips or advice to share...

Christmas is almost here, start doing all those Christmassy fun things with your children now.  If you haven't already.  Take the time to do some cooking or crafts with them.  It'll be here before you know it!

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

We had our co-op's holiday dinner/Shakespeare faire on Friday night.  It was planned and put on by the Scholars (12 and up Shakespeare class), and their mentors.  They did a phenomenal job!  We all had a good time, and the boys just loved it too.

So, since the scholars are studying Shakespeare, this whole dinner and program revolved around that time era.  The scholars were all different ranks depending on how many Shakespeare plays they have read, watched, or listened to.  There are several that have reached the King/Queen status.  Here they are at their table... 

We were sitting at the "commoner" tables behind my camera.  I never got a picture of all the families sitting at those.  We had a yummy dinner of soup and salad while the royalty got the turkey and "higher" status food.  It was all in good fun, and the soups and salads that everybody brought were still good.
The program for the evening.
April getting coronated as Queen because she finally passed off 17 Shakespeare plays.
She was finally able to wear the robe!
 This was also the night that they were going to announce the Shakespeare play that they will be preparing for and putting on next semester.  Here comes the announcement....
April was waiting and smiling very excitedly to hear which one.
The play will be..."As You like it!"

After dinner there was a medieval village where we could "buy" treats for our dessert.

Alex bought a lot of candy canes and red vines.

Everyone received 5 "coins" to take to the village.
This was the bakery...


There was a blacksmith...


An apothecary...

April was helping at the apothecary
Not everything on the table was for sale.  There were wands, candy canes, and black licorice here.  The rest were decorations.
We are done with co-op for this year.  We are on break until January.  When we go back in January I am going to be mentoring a lego building class for Aaron's age.  I'm excited about it.  I'm glad to have a break for a few weeks though.

My favorite thing this week was...

Going to the Portland temple with April for her first youth temple trip.  

My kiddos favorite thing this week was...

Counting down the days to Christmas.  They are loving the countdown activities we have been doing.

I'm cooking...

I made ramen salad and brownies for the faire on Friday.  I also made banana muffins that nobody would eat because they had bananas.  I made rice krispy treats, which happens almost weekly around here.  I think we must like rice krispy treats.  

I'm grateful for...

Being able to provide my family with good healthy meals.  For all the friends we have made in our new co-op.  For all our Christmas decorations that make our house so festive.  For the things I'm learning as a homeschool mother.  For a warm home that is comfortable, and cozy.

That's all for this week.  I'm linking up to Homeschool Mother's Journal at So you call yourself a homeschooler.

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas fun--pop up cards

Book:  (was supposed to be) A pop up book, Winter's Tale by Robert Sabuda.  That book looks very interesting and neat, however we don't have it nor can I find it at the library.  So, I came up with a good pop-up book while not necessarily Christmas related, it is definitely Christ related.  I remembered that I picked up this book at time out that has beautiful pop-ups of the temple.  It's called The House of The Lord.  It has pretty white pop-ups that remind me of snow in the winter.  The boys were very impressed. 

I really wanted to do the craft for this book, which was pop-up cards.  The boys loved both the book (that I picked) and the craft.

 The pop-up cards completed.
Aaron's card is on the left, Aric's on the right.

 A glimpse inside the book.

The front of the book.

Speaking of cards.  I took the kids' picture today for our Christmas cards.
Here is one of the pictures.
Only 2 came out good.
This one, and the one that will be on the Christmas card.
Thankful to have 2!
It was kind of a last minute photo shoot anyway.


I'm trying to share what we do each day this month.  Sometimes it's planned.  Sometimes it's not.  I just hope to create some memories and traditions, and I want to remember them.  I hope you enjoy our adventures.

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