Friday, December 4, 2009

Another Christmas Fun Box

In today's Christmas Fun Box, the kids found red and green food coloring, salt and mint extract. Strange combination? Not if you're making red and green playdough, which is what we were going to do!
They each took turns measuring the ingredients for their playdough -- Lael made red with orange extract mixed in and Jaden made the minty green. Then they had to stir . . . and stir . . . and stir . . .
. . . until the playdough was "the consistency of mashed potatoes" -- of course, that didn't mean as much to the kids as it did to me. After all, they usually eat mashed potatoes without contemplating the consistency of the dish.
Then Mommy kneaded the playdough to get it nice and smooth -- it was still really hot so the kids couldn't really touch it. Then they had to wait for it to cool so they could play with it. Doesn't it look pretty, and so festive? I predict that we'll enjoy this playdough a whole bunch this Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fun school in December

I love Christmas time . . . and everything that goes along with it -- the baking, shopping, decorating, and extra-special family times like snuggling up on the couch to read a book or watch a favorite Christmas movie.

This year I wanted to be purposeful about incorporating fun into our days, so I came up with the Christmas Fun Box. Each day I put something into the box to give a clue about the fun activity that our day will hold! I have some FUN things planned!

Today, when the kids came downstairs, this is what they found on the dining room table:

Inside the box were all different kinds of buttons and bells. Add some pipe cleaners and look what we made . . . (photo courtesy of Jaden)

I love adding some fun and whimsy to our day!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Railroad Museum of PA

Another stop on our vacation to Lancaster County: the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania! This place truly had something that the whole family could enjoy! Daddy loved learning about the history of the railroad in Pennsylvania. Mommy enjoyed seeing how the train cars changed over the years to make them more efficient. And the kids loved finding where they could climb up onto the different cars!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am extremely behind in my blogging . . . chalk it up to a busy fall! I hope over the next few days to get caught up again -- so that we can share all the fun holiday plans we have!

One major event of the fall that was missing from my blog was our annual fall family vacation. We've gone on vacation in October for the past several years; we love taking a couple of days to get away. Usually we've gone to Ocean City, Maryland in the past, but this year we decided to head to some familiar ground . . . Lancaster County!

One of the places we visited -- Choo Choo Barn! Such a fun field trip! Here are some pictures from that excursion:

Please stay tuned for more from our vacation!

Mystery solved!

Jaden was reading a book about the Pilgrims today. One of the pages said, "The first winter many people died because there wasn't enough food to eat."

When he got to that part, he looked up and exclaimed, "You know, I've been wondering about that for a REALLY long time!" Then he went back to reading.

Glad we were able to clear that up for you, buddy! ;)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nature walk

We've had some beautiful fall weather . . . and we wanted to get out and enjoy it! So we headed to one of our city's many wonderful parks for a fall nature walk. The colors of the leaves were just magnificent! As we say at our house, God has been busy with His paintbrush!
While we were walking around, I told Lael and Jaden to look for things that they thought would make good components of a nature collage that we'd be working on at home.We found lots of beautiful things, both small . . .
. . . and not so small!We so enjoyed being out in the fresh air!
As you might expect, Jaden's favorite place was up a tree!
Once we got back home again, they started to work. I didn't give them much in terms of directions except to create a collage using the materials they had collected. Lael decided to make two small collages.
In this one, she used the items she had collected to represent parts of an outdoor scene. Do you see the clouds, birds, trees, flowers, path and grass in her artwork?
This one was more abstract -- but full of color!
Jaden didn't want to be photographed while he was creating his artwork -- he did the JUMBO size collage! (It spans the width of our treadmill to give you some perspective.)We definitely need to do this again soon!

Friday, November 6, 2009

More co-op fun!

The fall semester of our homeschool co-op is winding down . . . both kids have been having so much fun!

Jaden's class spent time retracing the steps of Lewis and Clark as they explored our great country.
They also played a fun game of Geography Twister -- okay, so it wasn't really Twister, but more of a "find this place and step on it" kind of game! ;)
In math class, Jaden and his friends had fun "shopping" -- and learning to add two-digit numbers at the same time! Pretty cool!Lael's ARTifact class spent two weeks working on coil pottery . . . first making them, and then painting them.
Closing exercises are just a couple of weeks away!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reflections on the pumpkin patch

This past weekend, Daddy and the kids had fun at the pumpkin patch, along with others from our church. I asked Jaden to write about his time there; this is what he wrote (translation in small print) . . .

At the pumpkin patch, I saw . . . pumpkins. I rode on the ciyoody run. ("Coyote Run" - a ride that they had at the farm) When I got home we made a lef piyl. (leaf pile) I love the pumpkin patch.

The best part of this entire exercise was that he enjoyed doing it! In fact, part way through, he looked at me and said, "This is really getting fun!" And that's the way it should be, in my opinion!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Introducing cinquains

One of my goals this year is to introduce the kids to different styles of writing poetry. (Quick side note: I always dreaded having to write poetry in school, so I approach this particular genre of writing with much trepidation.) Anyway, this month we learned about cinquains . . . and since we were studying about Christopher Columbus at the time, this is what Lael came up with:

Strong, magnificent
Sailing quickly, smoothly
Like to watch them


Helpful, supportive
Royal, faithful, Christian
Kind to other people

Not bad for a first time, don't you think!

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Monday Motivation . . .

. . . for homeschooling from Steve and Jane Claire Lambert. Jane Claire is the author of the Five in a Row curriculum that we use here at God Seekers Academy.

We're not trying to do ‘School at Home’; we're trying to do homeschool. These are two entirely different propositions. We're not trying to replicate the time, style or content of the classroom. Rather we're trying to cultivate a lifestyle of learning in which learning takes place from morning until bedtime... seven days each week...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mmmm . . . apple dumplings!

That's right . . . warm, cinnamony (is that a word) apple dumplings with a scoop of Turkey Hill Philadelphia-Style Vanilla Bean ice cream . . . does it get any better than that? Probably not!

Now, before I go any further, I should offer this disclaimer . . . the recipe that follows is absolutely scrumptious but should NOT be a part of your daily diet -- it's definitely a "special treat" kind of dessert! Okay, having said that, let me share:

I found the recipe here -- there are some amazing recipes (and photos) on this website . . . I get hungry every time I visit there! And yes, her pictures are better than mine -- but you won't get to see my beautiful children there! ;)

First, you wrap apple wedges in crescent roll dough as Lael is so expertly doing here:

Put the wrapped apple wedges in a greased pan . . .
Cover with a mixture of sugar and melted butter (I told you this is a special treat) . . . Then pour in some Mountain Dew (or in our case, Sierra Mist) and sprinkle with cinnamon, then bake!
When they are done, they look like this: . . . and taste like this!
Let us know if you try these apple dumplings . . . so we can come and help you eat them!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Crossing a river

We are having such fun in our homeschool co-op group! Both kids have a history class -- Jaden's is studying famous Americans with five other "early learners" -- who are preschool and kindergarten age.

As anyone who works with young children knows well, active play is an important part of their day, and the teacher of this history class is excellent at interspersing active play with quiet listening. Two weeks ago, the historical figure the children were learning about was William Penn. The children colored a map of Pennsylvania and traced some of the major rivers. Then, we "crossed" some "rivers" -- otherwise known as a jumprope waving on the floor! They LOVED it!
Yes, that's Jaden in motion! So then this week, when we were talking about George Washington, we had to play our game again -- after all, everyone knows about George Washington crossing the Delaware River ;) Here is "George Washington" leading his troops across the Delaware -- sporting a nifty tricorn hat!
They're all up for the adventure! (And so very cute!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

We had a fun field trip to the fire station with our homeschool co-op group the other night . . . it was an excellent presentation, and the kids got to do some things I never did when the fire department visited our school when I was a kid!

Lael was very glad when we finally got there -- the GPS had a bit of trouble locating the little town fire hall that was our destination (so we were a bit late).
There was a neat display outside of antique fire trucks and fire fighting equipment that Jaden really enjoyed looking at!
After the presentation and a time of Q&A, the firefighters took the kids in small groups to a back room that was completely dark. There they were able to look through a special heat-sensitive "camera" to find where some firefighters were hiding in the room. In case of a fire, fire fighters can use this equipment to find people who might be trapped in a smoke-filled room where it's hard to see anything or anyone.

Then they took the kids outside and gave every child an opportunity to hold the fire hose and spray some water at an old car! This was a definite highlight of the night for both Lael and Jaden! (Sorry that the pictures are so dark -- it was a nighttime field trip).

Here's Jaden with the hose . . .
. . . and here's Lael taking her turn!
When they were done outside, they came back into the fire station -- there were all kinds of gifts waiting for them . . . fire hats, coloring and activity books, rulers, mini flashlights, crayons! They even received certificates for learning about fire safety! What a great field trip!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Time for a "new do"

After about a year and a half of growing out her hair, the day finally arrived for Lael to get her hair cut to donate . . . she's been beside herself with excitement ever since I told her I had made the appointment! We decided to go to a real salon (Sweet and Sassy) for this momentous event -- and they made it so special for Lael. Here she is before the stylist got started . . .
Next it was time for my favorite part of having my hair done -- the shampoo!
Then the cutting began! The stylist took off an 8" ponytail that will be sent to a program that makes wigs for cancer patients.
Then the new hairstyle began to emerge . . .

Once the cutting was finished, Lael had her hair styled -- including hair glitter and a spray that smells like vanilla cupcakes (she smells so yummy right now)!
And here's our princess! Isn't she lovely!
And to celebrate, we went out for a sweet treat -- of course!
Lael, you look so beautiful . . . and I'm so proud of you!