The Blog Blues

I’ve had the blogging blues as of late.   The kids are doing well, schooling is moving right along but mostly I’ve got “stuff” on my mind that has nothing to do with homeschooling.  My mother invited me to a contemplative retreat last week and it did wonders for helping me get out of my head. 

One of my favorite projects that we did was a collage mandala.  Here is mine. 

It’s easy for me to get bogged down with the stuff of life.  Laundry, schoolwork, dishes, dusting, dinner….  As I began picking out pictures for my mandala, I was reminded of why I chose this life.  I willingly chose to walk this journey.   Each picture was like a tiny healing to me.  A beautiful reminder that I am giving my myself to my family and those that come into my home.  And not only am I giving of myself, I’m also giving them the world!  I am passing on my love for our earth, traveling, adventure, history and science into their hearts and lives.

Ren Fest 2010

Welcome to the Texas Ren Fest School Days Field Trip.  If you’ll look to the left, you’ll see Bella and ~h showing off their capes.  You can call it kooky, you can call it fun but we take our Ren Fest Costumes SERIOUSLY!   

  Exhibit 2.  Green and Black tights.  What do they have to do with the Renaissance?  I don’t know.  I bought them for my Halloween costume adn since I was a witch and witches have striped tights (because I say so) and because…well… I got nothing.  Basically I just wanted to wear them. 

Bella got the opportunity to give “tribute” to one of the knights at the joust.  My favorite part?  After Bella tied her tribute to the lance, the knight said (valiantly), “I joust for Bella!”  It was great, even if he did lose~

Look, it’s my tights again.

Here we are at the coin mint watching the man make our necklaces.  This was a great way to end the day. 

 Here’s a group shot.  It makes me giggle.  They don’t look so happy but they had a great day!

Some things you just have to do yourself.

Sunday night we took the kids Trick or Treating.   to my husband’s aunt’s neighborhood.  (that’s a mouthful) This was our first year to do traditional trick or treating.  Angelboy took great joy in knocking on doors to say “Trick or Treat”!    After 30 minutes of walking, the kids got tired and we decided to head back towards our house.   As we were leaving, the streets were lined both ways with cars.   We slowly made our way out of the maze when we became a part of this.

Lots and lots of THIS!  Because of the parked cars lining the streets (both ways) the road had become a one way street.   After sitting at a stalemate for a few minutes, I bravely got out of our van and directed traffic!  That’s right….Traffic Controller, at your service.  I got three cars to back down the street in reverse, even if begrudgingly and then stood in the middle of the road to ensure no more morons people came into neighborhood until we could get out! 

Talk about stepping out of my comfort zone!  Gold star for me. 🙂

pp&j

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!!

pp&j

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!

Don’ts

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. 

pp&j

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
N-Nightmares

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! 

pb&j