Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our "Green" Jesse Tree

One of the neat things about homeschooling this year is that during the days leading up to Christmas I find myself having the time to really enjoy and talk about all the traditions surrounding the season. We've had time to explore cultures and really focus on the true meaning of Christmas. This year we made a Jesse tree.

A Jesse tree is a way to count down the days of advent that lead up to Christmas by making an ornament that represents a story in scripture. Each day you read a scripture starting with creation leading up to the birth of Jesus. The name Jesse tree comes from Jesse in the bible who is considered the first person in the genealogy of Jesus.

First I went to a website by Faith magazine to download the templates for the ornaments. They also have the scripture readings for each day. The small templates were just the right size to glue on our scratched up DVD's. I've been holding on to many of these wondering what to do with them and this project took care of that nicely. I'm feeling very environmentally correct over this project and glad I could use something we had around the house to make our ornaments.

We just glued a little ribbon hanger on the back side and the girls cut out the print out and glued it to the other side of the DVD.
We had a little artificial tree that we had used several Christmas's ago when we were moving to our new house, but not out of our old house yet. We set this little tree up in our new house so we could decorate it as well. It worked perfect for our Jesse tree.

We put it up in our home school room and we've been enjoying it every day. Every day we sit down and read the scripture for that day and find the ornament that represents it. The girls and I have enjoyed reading each bible story and discussing it. It's been a wonderful way to start or even end our home school day. And it's been a great way to bring the true meaning of Christmas back into our hearts every day!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Whoops...Missing Picture

I just realized that the picture of my girls with their Super Cleaning Girl aprons did not make it to my post on Wednesday! I have to share because the aprons my mom made are too cute.

So here they are:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Super Cleaning Girls

Since we started homeschooling this year I've had to adjust many routines. One of them being my cleaning schedule. Suddenly I had extra bodies at home all day, I was cooking 3 full meals a day and needed to figure out how to clean with everything else going on. I was also tired of everytime we took a break from school and I mentioned the word "clean" or "straighten up" all I heard was moaning and complaining. So one day at break time when our school room was in desperate need of a clean up I called out, "I need my super cleaning girls! Quick grab your cleaning girl aprons." Luckily my mother had made these precious aprons for my girls this summer and they are just perfect for our cleaning girl outfits.

I had no idea how this would go over, but all three of my children (yes even the 2 year old) jumped up and grabbed their aprons. I set the timer for 15 minutes and we all scrambled to clean up the room. Every few minutes someone would call out the time left so we were sure to make it in time.

All I can say is so far this is working great. We try to do at least a room or two a day, which is helping me to not feel so overwhelmed. The girls immediatly go to grab their aprons the minute I call out for help for the "Super Cleaning Girls"

That's my WFMW tip!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I've Been Tagged!

My sweet friend Aimee, we go way back to our college days, tagged me. First, I'd like to say you need to check out her blog because she always has some neat homeschooling activities going on over at her place.

The rules of this tag are to list 5 things that shaped me as a mom. Okay, here we go!

1. My mom. She is a hands on mom. She volunteered for just about anything there was that involved us: homeroom mom, Girl Scout Leader, school nurse, etc. She cooked meals from scratch, taught us to sew, grew our own vegetables and canned them, took us to whatever museum, gallery, or cultural gathering she could. I'll be a good mom if I can do half the things for my kids she did for us!

2. My faith. Even when I was little I knew I wanted kids. Being a mom was something I couldn't wait to be. I think God was working on me even then:) I've learned that as a parent we don't have all the answers, but He does. Sometimes it just requires patience and faith. I try hard to listen to Him and be the kind of mother He wants me to be. Some days it is easier than others!

3. My husband. He understands what kind of mother I hope to be and helps me get there. Our decision to home school was a process of lots of praying, tears, and frustration. But in the end I knew that is what we were being called to do. He supports that, works hard so I can stay home, and encourages me on those days I'm not feeling like a very good mom!

4. The birth of my first child was full of unexpected happenings. She was a week late, I got a terrible infection and was very sick. In the meantime, Em was having a hard time and my labor lasted for 18 hours. When the worried doctors believed I had no energy left to push, told me they might have to use the forceps, and Em's heart rate took a nose dive, that momma instinct kicked in. There was no need for forceps and Em was born and whisked off to the NICU. In that instant I was a mother that would do anything for her children. Over the next week I found my voice and questioned and fought with doctors and nurses alike so that my daughter had the best care possible. That moment shaped me into the mother I am in so many ways, for when it comes to my children I am a force to be reckoned with!

5. All the very good and not so good mothers I have encountered over the years. They have shown me in big and small ways what kind of mother I want to be and sometimes that which I want to avoid.

I'd like to pass this award on to three ladies whose blogs I hope you get a chance to read for they are really neat moms:

Amy at Buffaloes and Butterfly Wings

Sasha at Small Town Momma

Connie at Smockity Frocks

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Lesson In Density

This weekend not only did I get a glorious nap, a new computer system from my hubby, lots of loving from my kiddos I also got one more very special treat. WB, my engineering hubby, decided to give the girls a lesson on density.

This is WB explaining the lesson (yes that facial hair is new, don't ask!!)

WB explaining to the girls how to measure by looking at the meniscus.

Little One ready to record data:)

WB used oil, saltwater, water, and alcohol which they measured and weighed to determine the density. First they put oil and water in a glass to see what would happen. Em learned how to do math equations using grams per milliliters. She followed along remarkably well for a fourth grader. Soph also understood certain concepts I was not sure she would grasp being 7, but she hung in there. I refrained from telling WB that this was a lesson I did in my 7th grade science class, which they struggled with. I'm glad I did because the girls understood more than I thought they would and enjoyed themselves in the process.

Isn't it cool when you make liquids pile up like this?

The last thing they did was to determine the density of a tomato and make a hypothesis as to where it would get stuck in their density parfait.

They had a blast, absorbed what they needed too, and spent a fun afternoon learning with WB!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nature Walk

We have been having some very nice warm weather and luckily we've gone outside to enjoy these beautiful days. We've been studying nature during our science time. Last week we decided to take a nature walk around our place. Em brought the camera and our goal was to find tracks, rocks, leaves, flowers, wildlife on our walk and document them with either pictures or by collecting them.

The girls knew right away this was one of our deer tracks. They come nightly to feed now that most of the vegetation in the canyons has died.

We stopped by the girls rock quarry. This is where they have been excavating for a few months now. Most of the rock is caliche and limestone. But we do find a few other treasures around.

Most of our wildflowers have died, but we have plenty of these around. In fact they make some very cute Christmas angle ornaments. You'll have to check out my post on my Crafty Corner Blog.
Everything we collected they gathered on a tray for labeling. We are going to the library today to check out a wildlife and plant guides to identify all our items. Using our pictures and our collections we will be making a nature book. WB also took the girls to the Botanical Gardens where they took more pictures of flowers and butterflies. We stopped by our favorite park and took pictures of all the different ducks and collected more leaves. They are going to organize their books by area.
We might even do a collection for the different seasons. The activities are endless and the best part is the kids enjoy doing it. Even my 2 year old can identify most of the things we have collected.

How do you study the nature around your area?

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Third Annual Great Pumpkin Patch Party

Well, two weeks ago we hosted our annual pumpkin patch party. We decided to have it in early October this year to keep it from getting to hectic with all the other holiday fun. It never crossed our mind that on the day we held the party the temperature would drastically drop to freezing with drizzle off and on all day. Ahh, that is the Panhandle of Texas for you.

WB frantically cleaned out the garage, backed the trailer with hay into it and we waited. Our menu was chili and hot apple cider, which turned out to be very well planned. Mind you we could have just as easily been serving chili to our guests in 80 degree weather if the weather of the week had held out.

Loading up the kids in the nice warm garage.

I was thrilled as our guests started arriving. We had a full house with children laughing and parents catching up with another as they had a few non-hectic hours. I love my house this way. I really can't describe the feeling I get when I have a house full of guests. To be truthful the week spent cleaning beforehand doesn't really give me the warm fuzzies, but it is all worth it in the end.

WB driving to the pumpkin patch.

Little One finding a pumpkin just the right size!

Despite the weather we had a quick hay ride to the pumpkin patch and back to the house to decorate them. Thank you Mom for the blue trays you recycled from your years at the hospital. They saved the day and my carpet from all the paint decorating that was going on. Both my parents were here and as usual we couldn't have pulled it off without them.
Our sweet friends always bring a Pinata and this year we had to improvise and set it up inside the garage. The kids had so much fun, even if I was a little nervous in the tight quarters. That's a mom for you!

It was so much fun despite the weather, although I've told WB that this is just more reason for us to build my party barn/studio/guest quarters. He just gives me the look!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Homeschool Adventure

The girls and I once again went along with WB to Lubbock on one of his trips. This time we decided to check out the Lubbock Lake Landmark Museum. We woke up that morning to winds gusting around 30 miles per hour and a definite chill in the air. But never mind that, we are homeschool adventurers.
The museum is fairly new and although small very nice inside. There was even an area for some hands on fun, which the girls enjoyed.
What they didn't enjoy was the room with the life size mannequins of Native Americans skinning buffalo etc. Much to my horror they all panicked and refused to look at this room. Where did this behavior come from? I was disappointed because both girls are working on a project about Texas Native Americans and I was looking forward to exploring this room. Honestly, I am not letting them watch Night at the Museum anymore. I had no idea it would turn them into jumpy, paranoid museum goers. Hmpf!
Outside there are many trails to follow where active excavations are going on. Well, not active now, but in the summer months. We set out on the trail with no other human in sight. It was just us and thousands of years of artifacts lurking just below the surface. Oh, and a few life size replicas of things like a 3 foot tall armadillo and some gigantic mammoths. All animals whose bones have been found at this site.
Anyways as we walked the trail, with the wind howling across the plains, you couldn't help but feel the presence of other beings. I kept looking over my shoulder expecting one of those Plains Indians to come swooping down upon us with spear drawn. Okay, no more movie watching for me either. But as we stopped to look at one excavation site down in a ravine I really felt as if eyes were upon us.
Then Soph screeches, "There, look there. There it is!" Jumping up and down pointing at a wall of dirt.
The rest of us peer in the direction she is pointing seeing nothing. I am reminded of yet another movie, the one where the kid sees dead people. That settles it, I am just never going into the theaters again!
"There a... a wolf. No, no a coyote." Still pointing her finger at the mound of dirt and jumping up and down. I clutch Little One to me afraid at any moment we are going to be devoured by a pack of wolves. You know, the variety that roam the fringes of Lubbock.
Finally I see this.
Zooming in I realize it is a fox.
He is sitting very calmly watching us from his perch. Soph finally exclaims, "No a fox!" We watch each other for a few minutes while I desperately try to handle camera and two year old. I realize my settings are off and before I can correct it the fox is gone.
Whew, the excitement. Who knew going to a museum could get the adrenaline pumping so hard? Needless to say the girls enjoyed the trip and probably won't forget it anytime soon.
Don't you just love homeschool adventures?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Excavation Projects

They say children start learning when in the sand box. Well, I have to agree. Em and Soph tackled the project of cleaning out the sand box yesterday. Let me back up and tell you why this was necessary.

It seems all cats, whether wild or domesticated, like to use sand boxes for a litter box. Hmmm, see I thought only indoor little kitties did that sort of thing. So imagine my horror at finding our sand box the new bathroom for all the wild cats we started feeding this winter. Yes, this seems to be common place because whenever I mention it to someone they just nod and say something like, "Yes, yes, that is why you should cover your sandbox". Okay, I am obviously the only person on the planet that doesn't know such things about cats.

Anyway, the girls got their shovels and wheelbarrow and set to work.

Within five minutes a discovery was found by Soph.

It was a bone!

Em decided they had found some owl pellets. We discussed the probability of owl pellets being found underneath the play set and decided that wouldn't easily be possible. Soph declared it was coming from the cat poop as she excitedly shoveled more sand, poop, and bones.

Upon closer inspection we found that some of the bones were hollow. Hmmm, what animal has hollow bones? Yep, birds. My girls were excited by their dig and findings.
Amazing, what a trip to the sandbox can teach you!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Field Trip To Lubbock

Post Written by Em

Soph, Uncle Ross, Little One, and Me

On Wednesday we went to Lubbock. It was fun. We went there because my dad had a business trip in Lubbock.

While we were there we went on a field trip to the hospital where my Uncle Ross works. First he showed us his office where we met several nurses and a doctor. One of the nurses gave us a goody bad with pens and pads of paper. Then we went on a tour of the actual hospital.

We saw several floors where we could not enter. Uncle Ross said we might get sick if we went onto these floors because there were lots of very sick people. We did get to visit some floors that we were able to go onto. One was the pediatric floor. This is where children who are sick are cared for. One neat thing about this floor was that if you were sick you and your family were given a ceiling tile to decorate. They then hung it on the ceiling of your room.
Little One having a snack that Uncle Ross got for her when she was tired.

We then went to the MICU where most of Uncle Ross' patients were cared for. We got to sit in the nurses station and look on a computer at MRI'S and X-Rays. I learned that cat scans take pictures in slices. They were cool.

We met Dr. Joe and two other PA's that Uncle Ross works with. They were very nice. Later we had lunch with all of them in a meeting room. We got to see on a large projector more cat scans, MRI's, and X -rays. We saw what a broken hip looks like, a crushed spine, and a pacemaker inside a man's body.

We had such a great time seeing Uncle Ross and learning all about what he does at the hospital!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


The random integer counter has picked a winner!
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:3
Timestamp: 2009-09-15 12:46:52 UTC
Number 3, which is Spencer, congratulations.
Large Format posters will be contacting you soon with your winning information.
Thanks everyone for participating.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm so excited to finally have my homeschooling blog up. I've added a few new sites to my home page Eskimo Kisses and Air Hugs. I'm suddenly feeling more organized and free. Well, for the moment at least.

This is our first year homeschooling and I have three girls, 9, 7 and 2. It's been such an adventure so far and I can't wait to see what is in store for as in the future. I'll use this blog to share ideas, post about what we are doing here at our school and the girls will even post their thoughts and feelings too. WB might even chime in from time to time!

To help kick off this new blog I have a give away from Large Format Posters. I'm really excited about this new product. I will be giving away a 24 X 24 wall graphic. It is like a large sticker you can post on any flat service, check out what it looks like here.
I think I might use this picture to put on our school room wall.

To help us all to remember to stop and smell the roses. Homeschooling allows me to do more of that it seems.

To enter this give-away just leave a comment telling what you would use your wall graphic for. If you would like to be entered more than once tweet about it, blog about it, or put a link to my blog on your facebook page. Then come back and let me know that you did in a separate comment.
**Winners and blogger must pay $5 Handling Fee to claim prize, shipping is free. Only open to US residents.

Good luck and I can't wait to start sharing our homeschool adventures with you!
**Forgot to mention the winners will be picked on Monday, Sept. 14th!**

New Homeschool Blog

I just started this new blog about our first year homeschooling adventure. Check back soon for my first post!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Test Home Grown Kids test