Showing posts from November, 2014

Christmas Cards

This year I made a few varieties of Christmas cards, once again.  I used to find one stamp set I liked or a layout that really made me excited and mass produce all my cards but over the last couple of years I've been making several different cards as the mood strikes until I have all 40 or so cards that I need.

 The above card was made using green card stock, starry vellum paper, some silver twine, blue card stock, and then my image was stamped on white paper.  I colored in the globe with marker and put crystal effects on the whole thing to make it 3-dimensional and shiny. 
This card is my favorite (sorry the picture isn't the greatest-- we had quite a few dark, gloomy days around here).  
I liked it so much I made three different versions using different shades of blue paper for a total of 12 or so cards.  I used blue paper for the card and made sure I had enough extra scraps to cut out a backing for my snowflake stamped image so that they'd match.  I had some snowflake …

Science Lessons Walking Through the Snowy Woods

As we were walking through the snowy, cold New England woods I was struck by how much science we were doing as we were walking, talking, and observing. 

We found so many animal tracks in the snow.  We have just an inch or so of snow, enough for a nice coverage of the ground without it being so deep that the tracks were buried or hard to find.

We saw turkey tracks, deer tracks, and what Alec believed to be fox prints.  My husband thought they might be raccoon prints instead and Alec told us that the "fingers" weren't long enough and that raccoons have long fingers more like a human hand but skinnier and with claws on the ends.  He pointed out that the fox prints were more like a small dog, small coyote, or small wolf but since they were so small and not very deep in the snow they had to be a foxes.

They had great fun following the tracks in the snow to see where they led and we found a nice big tree with lots of leaves under it that we believe is probably the home to th…

What are you Thankful for?

This thanksgiving was like no other that we've ever had.

We had no plans.

We had no where to be and we had no one coming over.

We were spending a quiet day at home together.  Like usual I had built the holiday up in my mind but had no real idea of how it would actually play out.  We had gotten a dusting of snow overnight and by 7:30 this morning all three boys were suited up and heading outside.  They made a snowman, played,  and enjoyed lots of fresh air.  Next thing I knew the younger two boys were playing next door and Ian and my husband had left to go visit a relative.

I had the house to myself, I was watching the parade, and I was kind of miserable.

It didn't feel like Thanksgiving when no one was around.  I tried to enjoy the peace and quiet and be thankful for our laid back schedule today but I was thinking I might have made a mistake in planning a holiday with just us.

It was just about noon by the time everyone came back home. 

 It really didn't feel like Thanksg…

Homeschooling During Thanksgiving Week

I am continually struck by this thought today and over the past weekend.  It just doesn't feel like Thanksgiving is really this week.  

Normally we'd be baking and cleaning up a storm today but this year, much to my family's chagrin I'm taking a mini holiday from all our holidays.  I decided NOT to host a huge Thanksgiving feast at our house, like usual, instead we're staying home with just the five of us.
I don't need to cook and clean for three days prior to the holiday.  I don't need to hit the grocery store (we've already decided we'll just work with what we already bought).  I don't need to set the table all fancy and bring in added tables and chairs. I don't need to do much of anything except cook on Thursday.  It's a weird feeling but I'm loving the laid back feeling of holidays at home.  Typically the kids and I wouldn't be doing any schoolwork at all this week, but since this isn't  a typical holiday I figured we migh…

Hiking and Homeschool Pilgrim Day

We started our day off with a forced march through the woods.  I had warned the boys before bed that we'd be bundling up and heading out for a walk first thing in the morning.  I wanted to get our walk in before our homeschool group meet up.

We have so much sickness and illness all around and I was thinking lots of fresh air wouldn't be a bad thing.  I'm hopeful it will keep us healthy, but if not at least we had a nice morning nature walk and hike.  We walked for 30 minutes and observed the differences in the woods during this time of the year.

The boys reminded me what the path had looked like in late spring and told me we should hike the same trail all four seasons.  I reminded them that we just about have.  I had the same thought not all that long ago.  The boys found animal tracks and Alec determined that it was a dog's paw print.  We had a race to the car at the end.  Alec, not only won, but he was the only one who  made it running flat out the whole way. 

 We …

When to Push

I admit it, I don't like to be that mom that forces my kids to do much of anything.

I never used to be that way:  I was perfectly happy making us all miserable because I believed there wasn't another way.

I believed that to raise caring, thoughtful, productive children I had to force them to do everything that I thought was best for them.

I believed that, as the parent, I was the boss; always.  I truly thought that having complete authority was the only way to teach my kids how to behave. 

Perhaps if I had to go back and do it all over again I would.  They were younger then and my way of dealing with things now might not have worked when they were younger.  I don't know.  I just know that I'm not like that anymore (or not ALWAYS like that).  I still force them to do chores or other things I think are important and non- negotiable, but my view of what is non- negotiable has changed dramatically over the years.

 But I still struggle with when to push them-- especially wh…

Keva Marble Mazes & Mining

After lunch I was going to get Alec and Ian to do some more schoolwork when I saw that Alec and Evan had pulled out our Contraptions box of blocks and were working on building marble mazes with them.

My boys love Keva blocks and we've bought a few sets over the years.

The next thing I knew all three boys were all building with them.

They each made their own thing and had a ball.  They were problem solving, planning, adjusting, and comparing their structures.  They came out pretty neat too.  Evan built his in stages, trying out each stage before moving onto the next.

Ian's garage had a whole story to go along with it and I learned that the owner of the garage's wife was not happy with him because he had so many trucks and loaders.  It was cute.  He also used other items like sticky notes to help build his garage.

We settled down to watch Dig Into Mining and learned all about copper mines.  We learned so much watching this 1 hours special and we can't wait for part 2 to…