Monthly Archives: March 2012

First GARDEN post of 2012

So it took a week, but I got my “to do” on the garden from last weekend done.  It is burned and mostly tilled.  It never did burn clean, like I had hoped.  I even raked the dry stuff up, and pulled up all the dried up vines in the yard around the garden too.

The garden is going to less full this year, with the move we do not want it to be as involved as last year.  The boys take an active role.  they helped pull vines, they even tried to help rake.  Both were very interested in the burning, a fascination they come by naturally.    Big Brother has requested watermelon this year, we’ll do pumpkins again t0o.








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Spring Break 2012 — #4 ART

OK I am finally going to blog about this, I have thought it all though.  I don’t like the blogs where everything always goes right and the kids are perfect.  My kids are not perfect, neither am I, and things more often that not (science and art especially) generally do not work out quite as right or as easy for us.\

While my dear friend and my three Godchildren were here we attempted this project.  We were both really excited to find a craft that was useable; not just another picture, and also, a craft that worked for our age range.  It is a challenge to find something the youngers (both 4 years 5 months) and the olders (10 and 12) can do and WANT to do.  We had high hopes of using them as Easter decorations, and even of using the idea again at say Thanksgiving to make table decorations.  However, it was very frustrating and did not work at all as this blog made it sound.   I am gald both my boys were willing to jump in.  Very very sensory; wet glue, yarn, hard plastic, after a time things get tacky too.

We followed the directions carefully and the Other Mother and I helped / did for the youngest kids (check out the photo of them; in the photo of the 2 baskets sitting on the table you can see the side and see how I tried to wrap it or weave it, not just drape it).  Nevertheless it required a lot of patience and a lot of fast thinking and manipulation by the moms to make baskets work out (shh but all the kids basket has to be reinforced by the moms when the kids were out of sight).

The yarn did not stick to itself.  It did not “turn crisp” nor retain its shape or even stay together.  As we dried them upside down the glue continued to drain off of them.  WARNING: this is a messy project.

We finally got them to “turn in to baskets” after the glue was dry by drenching them with spray starch!!  Stuck them in the sink and soaked them really good 3 or 4 time with starch.  That finally stuck the yarn together and gave it form.

I DO actually plan to try this again, maybe with the Godkids again, but I am going to take into account what I have learned and make some changes.   All in all this would be a great project to use up left over yarn, but I think that it is best fitted for a child a bit older than mine, or female and much more dedicated and attentive to details.   Though, this may be seen again when the Christmas Gift blogs start rolling out.

Things I have learned about this project:

  1. use COTTON yarn (thanks Anna for that, I was not smart enough and we used cheaper acrylic and that may have been the biggest issue we had, but did not realize that till Anna suggested it to me after the fact, obvious now.  That is why the yarn dripped the glue out while drying and the glue did not dry on / the yarn.)
  2. might try fabric glue rather than Elmer’s white school glue like we used this time; but with better yarn that might not be necessary.
  3. weave the yarn, they drape it all hodge-podge in the blog post I found the idea, but the one I wrapped around and around the bowl, pulling it tight over itself seems to hold it shape best.
  4. teams, rather than one basket per child, especially younger kids, might be a better idea.
  5. remember not all project turn out as fast, easy or pretty as they do in a few snapshots on a blog.


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First Grade shopping

We are really doing well with first grade.  For some unknown reason Big Brother is really excited to do any work deemed “first grade” in a way he has never taken to Kindergarten.  I have no idea why.  There are still attention struggles, he IS after all a six year old boy, but in general he seems more interested in school.

We are moving in to First Grade slowly; one subject at a time.  We are also finishing up kindy work that we have not gotten done, and most of the work simply melds into the new grade anyway (such as Exploring the Code; we finished Book 1 and have started book 1 and ½ ; next will be Book 2, we’ll simply continue book to book as we finish them).

We have started grammar.  Big Brother is flying though First Language Lessons.  We are already up to lesson 22.  We are covering nouns; and proper vs. common nouns and he doesn’t even seem to need the explanation.  We are currently memorizing his address (place), and finishing learning to spell his full name (person).  He is doing much better at replying, and discussing, with full sentences too.  We are also discussing and trying out the concept of narration, and I’ll start to demand more of that in a more pure form, from him after summer break.  Currently he is practicing narrating well known stories (the Three Little Pigs) and describing and telling stories based on pictures of famous art.  As of now the grammar is not really challenging and he is [picking it up with only “one time” of going over it.

I just ordered our new spelling program too.  I had hoped it would arrive in time to start spelling this week.  It, did, finally arrive today and it looks like we’ll be starting on lesson 6 (1 to 5 are simply letter sounds).  In a few weeks of starting spelling, I had planned to order our new math program.  Right now we are working on memorizing our addition math facts; by ‘timed pages’ (that we do not yet time) and flash cards.  I just ordered a CD for the car  so we can start listening in the car (since about 75% of our trips are 30 minutes or more one way, listening in the car is an excellent tool for us).  We’ve been working on math facts for a while, but I am just now getting serious with it.  I am now really pushing it and expecting him to commit them to memory.  Memory is one of his greatest strengths.  I want to get moving on the math facts before we start the new program.  I suspect we’ll review them as we get started in our new math, but I want to start getting them down now.  We’ll continue with MEP for First Grade, only doing one or two lessons a week, not four or five.  (I am, excited to see, they now are making answer keys, some of the mental math is challenging in a year or two I may be needing the help).

I have ordered a new planner.  A little treat for momma for the new grade.   I am really happy it has room for 9 subjects, that way I’ll have room to plan Little Brother as well as my First Grade Big Brother.  Little is asking, begging, for school each day.  It will be good for me to plan more for him.  I am also excited that the planner is all 7 days, not just 5.  We do a lot of work on weekends; especially if Daddy is gone we’ll have a mostly normal school day.  I use my planner not only to plan but as a record book and it will be nice to have a place to record accurately what we do.  The bottom of the pages is a place to keep an ongoing tally of hours per subject, since that doesn’t apply to us I may end up covering the bottom with white address labels to make myself more note space.  It will take a time of living with my new planner before I am totally sure how I plan to use it.

I have also ordered 2 student visual planners.  I am really excited.  One for each boy.  I plan to prep the night before and be able to hand them to the boys in the morning.  Opening them they’ll find all the “tasks” to be covered for the day.  As we complete them; the boys can remove them and put them in a DONE box; or move them to the other side of the planner, I am still working on that.  I need to handle them to be sure how I want to work the system.  That way they can both see from the start what has to be done for the day; and what is left at any given time.  I am toying with do I want to have a set order (that is we do the things from the top to the bottom as I have them in the planner) or do I want the activities and subjects to be choices (letting the boys choose the order we do things in, while understanding we have to do all of them).  Not sure where I stand on that either yet.

I got a catalog from about their home school sale and found The Story of the World in it!  Very excited since that is the history program I chose for our First grade History.  Buying though the sale I’ll save just under 20 bucks on the three books we need (story book, activity guide and test booklet).   I am really excited about this.  So after a couple of week of spelling being added (starting next week) I will be able to start History!!!  Math will have to wait till 2 or 3 weeks after that, which is fine as that gives us more time on math facts.

So we are gearing up nicely and slipping into First Grade without too much of a bump (so far).


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Park March 24 2012


FIRST ice cream cones ever!!!

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Ok, I admit it…

Ok, I admit it, I am an addict.


I have already posted TWO “to be read” pile posts about the stacks of books I have sitting around to be read.  I just hit the used bookstore and the library sale and I have another new (ok none are new) pile of books.  Yes I am an addict, the biggest issue is I have so many interest.  Youth Fiction, non-fiction parenting and child related subjects, and historical fiction just to name the top categories. (oh and this doesn’t touch the books on my kindle fire …..shhhhhhhhhhh)


So here is a list of my newest additions to my TO BE READ pile (15 more):


(in no certain order)


The Book of Abraham 782 pages


Mary Barton 


Is Your Child’s Brain Starving.   I am frankly kinda afraid to read this one.


The Endless Steppe 


Shiva’s Fire 


Killing Lincoln


Is this your child.  560 pages   Another one I am actually kinda afraid to read.


Wicked.  Hubby took me to see this musical for an annervisery gift.  On our honeymoon we saw a show on Broadway and Wicked was across the street.


the times of their lives life. love. and death in plymouth colony 


Mistress of the Monarchy 


Kite Runner 


the golden goblet 


John Adams 


Midnight Magic 


Something More 





















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Sppring Break 2012 #3 — SCHOOL

Yes, school.  Going a full week with no “school” is just not realistic.  Big Brother is really enjoying geography; and we had planned to make a map of our yard so we decided to do this as a group activities with our visiting friends.

We made it a two day project.  The first day we quickly reviewed what a map is, what it is used for, and how we get maps.  I wanted the kids to realize for us to have a map of the road between Grandpa’s and us, someone has to travel it and make the map.  I lead them in collecting data for our map of the yard and house.  We measured the number of steps it took to go from location to location (from one end of the house to the other, from the house to the tree, and so on).  Later the Other Momma and I sat down and made a trial map and decided to divide all our numbers by 2, first of all that made the map fit the page better, and that also allow us to have the kids creat a key noting the scale of the map.  On the second day Other Momma made the actual maps with the kids; taking them step by step though all the data we had collected.

YES, yes I did the entire project as Super Teacher!!


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Spring break 2012 #2 — MUD

We have a big creek at the back of our 33 acres, that the boys can no go to alone, or get in when we do go there. To the front of our land is a very small “seasonal creek” it will flow now in the spring, and some times after a big summer sotrm, but generally drys up by the heat of the summer.  the creek is small and very muddy, being the middle of a feild and not rock lines or tree covered.

While my friend and my three Godchildren visited we got a ton of rain, most days we were catching moments to toss the kids out to play around rain storms.  Two days the kid actually had good enough weather to go down to the little creek and play, and dig in the mud and muck and build dames and name islands and explore “waterfalls” (less than a food tall, the result of erosion).

Everyone got mud and muck from head to toe, and had to be shower and scrubbed off — the three little ones had mud in their ears!!  But there is no childhood fun like an afternoon at the creek, getting muddy and wet.


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