Sunday, May 31, 2009
I have a lot of deep thoughts to share, and big plans I am working on, so hopefully I'll get some time tomorrow (Owl Poppa is home the next few days).
Saturday, May 30, 2009
I wish I could find some good links to Capoeira and its history, but I can't... and I am not willing to spend anymore time on it. So there! Although this is a really nice kid's book about Capoeira.
Anyway, because Capoeira was illegal in Brazil, players were given a Capoeira nickname to help keep them anonymous. This tradition is still around today (not necessarily the anonymity, but the nicknames).
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
K was really excited (and couldn't stop smiling for the camera)
Here is her finished project
And then we got the whole house clean, mopped the kitchen, got the laundry done, the kids folded socks, J folded W's pajamas (I know... I was shocked... J NEVER voluntarily does work LOL) and everyone had a bath before we had our family night!!
For Family Night, we watched The Tale of Depereaux. It was cute, though a bit intense for my crew. But it's a sign of my new obsession... Redbox. Seriously... I can go to Walgreen's and rent a movie and it only costs me one dollar! This is dangerous folks! Do you hear me, dangerous!!!! Think of all the movies I can rent, for less than my late fees when I inevitably return my DVDs late to the library (the late fee is $2... highway robbery). We watched Bolt from the Redbox the other night, and whole new realms of movie rental possibilities opened up for me. I had visions of all the amazing things we could watch together. I tried to justify renting movies by reminding myself that the kids watch so little TV anyway. But really, it's a slippery slope folks. If I start renting movies more than once or twice a week, someone reel me in. :)
Oooh, and on half of the pizza, I mixed pesto in with the pizza sauce. Delish!
Let me know whatcha think!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
J and W, Fall 2008
K, newborn, Sept 2004
J and his first set of wheels, Oct 2005
J, proving he's always been cute, Spring 2003
J being "helpful" with K, Fall 2005
K's "being pretty" obsession started early, Jan 2006
Saturday, May 23, 2009
So... while everyone else is winding down for summer break, we're just hitting our stride.
I know I have waxed poetic over my love of Ambleside Online... I think I'm over it. I do love the lesson plans and the literature selections, but it doesn't seem complete enough to me. So it's back to the beginning. We're taking what we liked from Ambleside, combining it with what we liked from The Well-Trained Mind, sprinkling in a few random things, and calling it a (school) day. So how do I celebrate? I bought a science curriculum! How cool is this?!?! Starting Monday, we'll be doing science, along with our regularly scheduled programming, three days a week. We're using R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey, level one. It looks really cool and pretty thorough. I can't wait. So our newly revised new schedule is below. I feel like I do a "new" schedule every week or two... I think I have a short attention span... wait, what was I saying... oh, schedules, right... here it is, more for my own benefit (seeing it in print makes it official, know what I mean?) than for anything else, though I hope it is at least a bit interesting to others.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday will continue to be school days, and days where we don't use the car. This is regardless of Owl Poppa's wacky work schedule (probably our biggest roadblock in developing any kind of homeschooling routine). Every school day, we'll cover the following:
- Math for J and K: J is still in Saxon 1 and K is in Saxon K. I am thinking of bumping them to the next levels without finishing our books first... we're all a little bored. Waiting for the routine to kick in before making this decision. I am also thinking of mixing up the format a little, separating the math meeting and the math lesson. (One quirk of Saxon math is that the teaching is separated into two sections, a meeting that covers review, calendar skills, and some other stuff (<---how do you like that technical description) and then a lesson that introduces new topics and ends with a review sheet). Still pondering this, and will probably do a bit of trial and error to see what works.
- Reading for J and K: Continue on with Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Deferring the decision on what will follow until until we're actually done.
- Copywork: Continue as we've been.
- Poetry: We're giving up A Child's Garden of Verses. None of us are really enjoying it. We'll probably move on to Mother Goose and then A.A. Milne.
- Story of the World (SOTW): We're working at an erratic pace. Lately, we've been listening to the CDs in the car. We might listen to 3 or 4 chapters at once, and repeat this every time we go somewhere. The kids are really enjoying history like this, since it seems like a story, and they are retaining what they are hearing. Our summer plan is to continue this way, following what's interesting. During school days, we'll go over review questions for the chapters we've listened to, and coloring pages, mapwork, and narrations for their notebooks. We'll also continue to read the literature tie-ins. I am reserving the right to limit hands-on artsy projects if the kids don't seem interested or it seems like it will be too much mess (c'mon, people... I need to be practical here).
- Aesops Fables: Continue reading one or two fables per day. Once we finish our book, we'll probably move onto mythology (it should be about the right time in our history studies anyway)
- Science: We'll start the REAL Science Odyssey book and work through one chapter every two or three days.
- Composer Study and Artist Study: We'll continue to incorporate our literature-based composer and artist study. We're starting Bach and Degas, and will then cover Joplin (Scott not Janice) and Cassat (who's birthday was yesterday).
- Nature Study: I am also commiting to doing the Outdoor Hour challenges laid out here. Not sure when we'll fit them in, but fit them in we will!!
Now that you are all bored to tears, assuming you've actually slogged through this far, I will leave you with a great quote (I'm not beyond bribery, lol):
“The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”
---John W. Gardner
ETA: I went back and added the link for the Nature Study website. It's worth checking out since it's totally cool!
1. I like to think I am funny... I'm probably not, though.
2. I enjoy the gratuitous use of elipses... I really do.
3. I went to an all girls public high school and graduated second in my class.
4. In college, I only took a Latin class because all the sections for Spanish were closed, and Latin has no oral proficiency requirement. I ended up being a Classical Studies major.
5. I also majored in the Biological Basis of Behavior (biopsychology).
6. I proposed to my husband, twice... and was turned down both times.
7. I can't sing, or dance, or play an instrument, therefore I can never be a beauty pageant contestant.
8. I didn't learn to drive til after I was married... I was 22, with a house, and two vehicles that I couldn't drive parked in the garage.
9. After learning to drive, I once drove my car into the wall of that garage.
10. I used to do sleep deprivation research. It was the coolest work I've ever done. I sometimes dream about getting my PhD and doing research again.
11. I chronically lose things, especially my keys. If I ever come to visit you, I will probably leave something behind. Just expect it.
12. Before I ever had kids, I knew I would be a crunchy parent. Some things have worked out the way I expected (cloth diapering, homebirthing, tandem nursing, etc) and some things are so much harder than I thought they would (like being patient).
13. I love to cook. I hope to some day make all of my own food from ingredients I have grown myself.
14. I dream of owning a Christmas tree farm in Maine.
15. I have thrown more than one party that no one showed up to.
16. I always wanted six kids... and six dogs. Current count: 3 kids, 2 dogs, 1 fish.
17. There was a period of time when I was known as Princess Hippo, and it didn't bother me. I used to own pajamas with ice-skating hippos on them!
18. I love the smell of coffee, though I don't tolerate the caffeine well anymore. When I was pregnant, I loathed the smell of coffee.
19. I can jump double dutch.
20. I was the statue of liberty for Halloween in second grade.
21. I think grammar lessons are cool... diagramming sentences, that's where it's at, baby!
22. I get hyper when I am tired. If I seem extra spastic, I probably didn't sleep well the night before.
22 1/2. It has been seven years since I've had a good night's sleep. I am usually spastic.
23. I am not a native Texan, but I REALLY wish I was. As a birthday gift, my husband once awarded me a certificate of honorary texan-ness. Then he rescinded it. He would mock me that even the dogs were native texans. When my daughter was born in PA, it became clear that the girls would just have to stick together.
23 1/2. Ironically, my daughter and I are the only ones in the family who do not like snow and want to stay in Texas. The boys (who are all native Texans) want to move somewhere cold.
24. I love watching stand up comedy.
25. I would love to meet Chris Berman, and hang out with him for an afternoon. I used to dream about working for ESPN.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I used to camp alot as a kid, and it is something I always wanted to do with my children. I had great dreams of hiking through the woods, teaching the kids about nature, cooking over a campfire... ahhh, memories. But, like I said, Owl Poppa... well, not so much. My awesome artist friend Brendy was kind enough to share her family camp out with us, and to overlook how neurotically nervous I was about the whole deal :) I just really wanted everything to go well, both for me and for the little owls.
And it did! YAY! With help from Brendy's husband, we got the tent pitched, got gear unpacked, set up camp. We took the kids to play in the river, cooked dinner over the campfire, made s'mores, and spent our first night sleeping in the woods...
which is much harder than I remember it being. First of all, all four of us were sleeping in a 7 x 7 tent. And it was hot. And quiet. I had alot of trouble falling asleep. There was the racoon in the middle of the night who was trying to open our coolers (which had to be moved to the cars). There was the guy a few campsites down who kept coming and going on his motorcycle. Then K's eczema was super bad that day (before we even left, not due to the trip) so she scratched and itched all night long. And W is still nursing over night, so there was that variable to consider.
But we made it!!!! We were up before 7 am, excited at surviving our first camp out! (I think the other campers were not so excited about us being up SO early) After a yummy camp breakfast, we packed up and spent the day relaxing by the river.
I could say more (of course) but I'll just leave you with a few cool pics from our trip:
J doing what J does
My water baby, W
And of course, J and K with their first S'mores!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I also promise I will update my sad little blog soon. Really. We have had so much going on lately. Just hang in there... I'll have updates soon (because I know so many of you are on the proverbial edge of your seats waiting to hear what else I have to say, lol).
In the meantime, just keep checking back to admire the super awesome owl theme.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
On Sunday, we woke up late, had a lazy day, went to lunch at my favorite Tex Mex place. Nothing says I love you like chicken burritos!
It's back to our regular school week this week. Today also starts my first week of trying not to leave the house on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Though this week we need to adjust for the fact that K has her final ballet practice on Wednesday.
Busy day ahead... hope everyone had a restful weekend and a happy Mother's Day. Here's looking forward to this week!
Friday, May 8, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
1T (or 1 packet) yeast
1 T sugar or honey (we use our yummy raw honey from the farmer's market)
1 C warm water
2 1/2 C flour
1 T olive oil
1 tsp salt
In a medium mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar or honey in the cup of warm water. Wait until the whole mix is frothy and bubbly, about 10 minutes. This step is otherwise know as "proofing the yeast."
Add remaining ingredients, and mix with your hands until it forms a ball. Dough will be somewhat sticky. Knead for about 5 minutes (this is a great job for the kids).
Let the dough rest in the mixing bowl while you assemble the stuff to top the pizza, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle a baking stone (it really does taste better cooked on a pizza stone, but you can use a baking sheet if that's whatcha got) with cornmeal, and roll out the dough. Drizzle the top of the dough with additional olive oil before adding toppings.
Add desired sauce/cheese/topping combo and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for around 15 minutes.
NOTE: This recipe comes out really well with whole wheat flour. You can substitute some or all of the white flour for whole wheat. For each cup of whole wheat flour, add about a tablespoon of water to the dough before kneading. And don't skip the drizzling the top with olive oil.
Favorite toppings at the Owl Nest:
shredded barbecue chicken and sliced shallots
riccota cheese dropped on in big blobs
whole cloves of garlic (they roast right on the pizza and cook up super soft and mellow... yum!)
leaves of fresh spinach
sliced baby portabella mushrooms
1 C butter, softened
1 1/2 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
2/3 C cocoa powder
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Stir in vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients (does anybody really do this step?) and combine with the sugar/butter mixture.
Roll dough into walnut sized balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Using your thumb (or your kids thumbs, lol), make an indentation in the top of each cookie ball. Using a teaspoon, add a small amount of strawberry jam to fill each indentation.
Bake for 9-11 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.
Yield is approximately 2 dozen cookies
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Yesterday, we made May Day garlands. We used pipecleaner and strung them with pony beads and flower petals from the craft store. Pipecleaners worked beautifully because they were stiff... it was even easy for W to string his beads. We even made a mini-crown for Bianca (K's doll).
We read a few cute May Day books. The kids love The Morn of May Fest. We also read The Rainbow Tulip, which was especially nice for its hispanic cultural references.
This morning, we made paper-cone May Day Baskets. We spent all morning singing "A Tisket, a Tasket, we made a May Day Basket." We baked some chocolate jam thumbprint cookies (will post the recipe tomorrow... must get to bed), and delivered the baskets to friends and the new neighbors across the street.
Here are the kids (and Bianca) modelling their May Day crowns before going out to deliver the baskets. There are no pictures of the baskets, or the delivery, because my camera stinks!
W thought he was cute... we agreed!
Oh, and did you know that in Hawaii, they call May Day... Lei Day. We're planning our luau for the end of the month! :) Happy Spring everyone!
I’ve got five pockets in my overalls
Got five pockets in my overalls
I got two on the back,
one on the bib
and two in the ordinary, everyday,
In the front.
I just downloaded this album for the kids today! Hooray! I remember being a little girl in Catholic school, listening to this record in our classroom. It is still as awesome as I remember it being. The little owls are loving it! And yay for downloading albums... talk about instant gratification :)
You can preview all the tracks at the Amazon link above, but you can listen to the full track of Pockets here... just watch out... it's really catchy!