Archive for October, 2010

New Lapbook added

Tuesday is field trip day!!!!  We are going to the Texas Ren Fest.  In anticipation of our adventure, I’ve put together a lapbook to commemorate the day!  Check out my lapbook page!!



The Ten Do’s and Don’ts of Camping.

1. Do GO camping!


Whether you own a tent or not, you can go camping.  Many state parks have shelter sites.  All you need is food, chairs and blow up mattresses!  Screened in shelters are a great way to try out camping!  Check state parks in your area for availability. 

2. Do get up every morning and sit in awe of Mother Nature.  Watch the sunrise, admire a spider web covered in dew.  Gaze at the water, trees and forest floor. 

One of the best things about camping is basking in Nature!  Enjoy the sunrise (because you ARE going to get up early).  😉

3.  Do pick a nature trail to hike.  I grew up 3 hours away from the foothills of Arkansas. When I went hiking, it was up a mountain.  Up until a few years ago, I thought that WAS hiking. If you weren’t climbing up a mountain, what was the point?    I’ve since found that Nature Trails are all around.  Finding and hiking them has brought me joy.  Hiking is fun, no mountains necessary!

4.  If you are at a state park, check out the Nature Center.  It’s a Great place for science exploration.   It’s a goldmine for homeschoolers!  We learned about metamorphosis, habitats, trees, snakes, turtles, transitional zones, etc. 

5.  Do Roast Hotdogs.  Children of all ages approve!

6.  Do Set up a hammock  (even if you don’t get to sit on it).  I was too afraid that the hammock rope was going to break or fall apart if I sat on it, but the kids throughly enjoyed swinging in the trees all weekend long.  

7. Do  go with friends.  Camping is fun and being with friends only makes it better.  🙂  I learned how to play Canasta this weekend.  We did morning yoga/stretching together.  It’s a great way to bond. 

8. Do Bring your bike.   Bike the nearest nature trail! 

9.  Do sit around the campfire (or in the shelter) and tell silly ghost stories with the children.

10.  Do get dirty.  Embracing the dirt takes the anxiety out of camping.  Bring extra wipes for emergency clean ups!


1..  Don’t expect a fall camping trip just because it’s technically fall.  100% Humidity and the kids went swimming, enough said.

2. Don’t go camping for three days (if you’re not an expert).  Three day camping trips seem ideal but I promise you they are not, especially if you are camping without your significant other.  It takes a half a day to set up and a half a day to break it all down.  Add to that the need to “cram all your camping fun”  into one full day and that equals ONE REALLY TIRED MOM!  Camp for 4 or 5 days.  You will thank me for it!

3. Don’t forget things like tylenol, dishwashing liquid, knives and paper plates.  Without fail, no matter how many lists you make, you will forget something.  🙂  Try not to sweat it and hopefully a store isn’t too far away. 

4.  Don’t pack everything into one day.  Refer to number 2.   Is it fun to Hike 1 1/2 miles, Take a 2 hour tour of the nature center, Bike a 1 mile trail AND go swimming?  Sure it is.  But is it fun to do it all in one day??  I’ll let you decide.

5.  Don’t bring 2 bikes and three bike riding children.  Well that’s just common sense.  Invest in a bike carrier that you attach to the trunk of your car.  I know that I’m going to!

6. Don’t forget to check your flashlight batteries before you leave.  It also helps to have one MORE flashlight than you have people.  🙂

7.  Don’t be afraid to enforce downtime during the day for you and your children.  Camping is fun and it should be relaxing but it’s also hard work.  Downtime helps parents and children rest and refresh.  The alternative is not pretty.

8.  Don’t lose your shoes in the middle of the night, because you will have to walk to the bathrooms and it won’t be fun.  Refer to number 6.

9.  Don’t feel ashamed if you like a little electricity while you are camping.  You don’t have to be purist.  It’s still fun!  Ok, I’ll admit it.  I camp at a site WITH a shelter, 4 electric outlets and a spigot of running water.  I’m not ashamed.  It’s still camping and it’s still fun. 

10.  Don’t forget to rest.  Refer to number 2.  Plan a nap!  Take a siesta in a chair.  Sit around the fire and just talk.  Hiking, biking and swimming are fun but camping is also about taking a step back from our crazy modern life and just soaking in Mother Nature. 


It’s Pumpkin Time


This week, the kids have been working in our Halloween Lapbook.  Today, after a 2 hour lapbook session, the kids carved their pumpkins!

Jellybean drew the face for her pumpkin.  I thought she did a great job!  I carved it for her. 

Puddles did all of his work himself.  I did however have to help him clean out some of his more stubborn pulp. 

Angelboy and his pumpkin.  Great job Angelboy!

Bella carved the front and backside of her pumpkin. 

Puddles and Angelboy collaborated on the cover for our lapbook.  We’ve enjoyed learning a bit about the history of Halloween and the history behind the customs.  I think our favorite activity has been reading a child’s version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hallow”.  Tomorrow, we’ll write a Halloween Limerick and learn a little about bats.  Yesterday we read up on spiders, which is always fun! 

Here is the kids  Halloween Acrostic Poem

H – Happy Halloween
A- Apple Bobbing (which is actually an Ancient custom.
L- Lollipops and Candy
L- Little Kids in Costumes
O- Omens
W- Witches and Wizards
E- Evil Laughs
E- Eve

Turtles and Pumpkins

Angel Boy found a turtle this weekend.  Teddy the Turtle was very cute and he even became comfortable with us after a few hours and we got to watch him run around and crawl everywhere.  Although I let AngelBoy KNOW that he could NOT keep this turtle, he got quickly attached.  He ran away yesterday afternoon and everyone was very sad. 

Saturday afternoon we made a trip down to a local nursery and got a few pumpkins.

The kids are looking forward to carving them this week.  We got them each their own small pumpkin to carve.  🙂  I found the most beautiful pumpkin!  I usually buy them at the grocery store, so it was nice to actually get to pick out a big, well formed pumpkin. 

Last year we went to a pumpkin patch to take pictures but it was entirely too bright.  The kids were very annoyed and I was very cranky by the time we left.  This year, it was still too bright to take pictures but we took it all in stride.  

We’ll be working on our Halloween Lapbook this week! 


Halloween Crafting Expo

After a wonderful time of mommy crafting with h~ and SFK, I came home and finished up my halloween tree.  Many thanks to the ladies for introducing me to Modge Podge and allowing me to take part in this fun craft!!

Yesterday, the kids and I continued on with Halloween crafting.  


I’d like to have my cake and eat it too!

Yesterday we went to a local state park.  It wasn’t a field trip and we did no “school work” and I make NO apologies for that.  We are having lovely weather right now and if you live anywhere near the armpit of Texas, you KNOW how rare this weather is! 

One of the mom’s was questioned by the park ranger when she came in as to what we homeschoolers were doing in the park yesterday.  She wanted to know if we were learning or just having fun.  The mom replied that we were having fun and calling it learning.  From what I understand, she got a “tsk, tsk” from the ranger.  Here’s the problem I have with the question from the ranger (a former teacher, no less).  Are FUN and LEARNING mutually exclusive?  Can you either be learning OR having fun?  I really want to know. 

I’ve written up a few lesson plans in my day and I KNOW that teachers  assign a standard or educational goal to each activity that they do.  You can make ANYTHING sound educational with the right words. 

Yesterday the children engaged in critical thinking skills, engineering, physics, hands on life science, physical education, fine motor skills, identification and classification, cause and effect and problem solving skills. 

  State Education Boards have standards and guidelines as to what students must be learning at any given grade.  Does presenting the information and testing on it REALLY mean that the student learned ANYTHING?  What is learning?  Why must a third grader know what sedimentary rock is?  Do you remember the names of 10 different trees by reading about them in a textbook? 

I value education.  Literature, English, Writing, Geography, Spelling, Math and Science are ALL important to me.  I find value in formally learning each subject.  But I also value life.  I value my children’s interest, art and nature.  I want our lives to be enriched by what we see and what we do. 

In my house, we are going to learn AND have FUN doing it!


Revel Time

We are in town with my mom this weekend.   I took the kids (minus Puddles) to the 35th Annual Red River Revel Art Festival, or as we call it around these parts, “The Revel”.  I’ve been coming to The Revel since I was a child and it was really a treat to bring them out today to share some fun and memories with them.   I didn’t have my camera but I took a few shots on my phone before the battery died. (This is a theme with me, eh?)

Jellybean and Angel Boy dug up rocks and fossils in the Mock Dig.  This was probably the best part of the afternoon.  Kids of all ages just LOVE to play in the sand.  I even got down on the ground and sifted for rocks.  We found quartz, gypsum, shark teeth and petrified rock.   We tried our hand at printing, wandered through the child sized grocery store and painted Clay Pots.  Bella made sand art and Angel Boy attempted Rock Climbing (which is not his forte). 

After we had our fill of pint sized fun, the kids and I strolled through the artist booths.  We ohhed and ahhed over pottery, paintings, glassware, sketches, and wood.   There is something so special about Louisiana art.  The warm colors, the richness, the folksy themes draw you in.  It’s not often that I get to waltz through so much color, so much texture and just revel in it.  I found one artist that made me smile and I could have bought a print if I didn’t talk myself out of it.  I LOVED this one:

 copyright © Brad W Foster 1987

We’ve had a great weekend!   Friday we went to a local nature Center.   The hike was fun but I missed all our Triangle Friends!  Saturday we got to visit with my lil sister and her fiance.   The boys had entirely too much fun attacking their “Uncle Yoshi” but he was a good sport and he taught them how to shoot rubberbands.   It was great to catch up and see where they are going with their lives. 

We are headed home in the morning.