Monday, September 26, 2011

Field Trip friday...

      I actually really like Mondays. Mondays are like fresh new beginnings. No matter what the previous week had to offer, whether it was good or bad, Mondays are like starting a new part of a never ending journey....
      That being said, that isn't what this post is about. This post is about long before Monday.

      On Friday I came across Chestnut Grove Academy's blog about Field Trip Fridays. I thought it looked very interesting as well as ironic since we were getting ready to leave for a field trip to the Renaissance Fair that morning. After a long weekend of goings-on, I finally found the time to write my post about our Field Trip Friday, although from what I understand from reading the rules at Chestnut Grove Academy, I don't think the field trip even needs to be on a Friday, ours just happened to be.

      The kids and I have been studying the Middle Ages, so when our homeschool group decided to go to the Renaissance Fair for a field trip I felt that it was only fitting. So let's travel back long before today (Monday) to the Middle Ages.

      The kids were in true form and decided to dress the part as many other people that we saw there did.

The weather was rainy and very dreary, however despite that, fun was had by all. My daughter was able to have tea with real fairy princesses right out of fairy tales, while my son was able to learn the complex task of archery.

We watched a jousting match, where we were able to cheer on our Knight,

as well as get a glimpse of the King and Queen.

After being immersed into the Middle Ages and much tomfoolery in the day,

we headed back home to a well needed rest.

So that was our Field Trip Friday, that yes, was really this past Friday.

Some of the resources that we use for our study of the Middle Ages include; Susan Wise Bauer's The Story of the World Volume 2, History for Kids, Role Playing, as well as many many great books from our local library.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Trumpeter Swan's last song...maybe...but only until next spring...

               Not even one more day until fall officially starts. I have to say, for us it has really been in the air the last week or so! Along with the new beginnings of a new "school" year, we also have to say goodbye. For where we live in the vast U.S., after summer we don't get much sunshine. Hello vitamin D supplements, goodbye Mr. Sun. Fall is great for the fact that we also say goodbye to the state bird...the mosquito! I don't mind that at all!

              What I will probably miss the most are the Trumpeter Swans that come every year to have their young in a little pond not far from where we live. There have been trumpeter swans there since I can remember, but a couple years ago tragedy struck and the swan couple that came every year to have their family was slain. Probably some drunk kid who thought it would be funny to take out an entire family of swans. One of the babies did live and was taken to a bird rescue facility. I thought we wouldn't see swans in that little pond again, but to everyone's surprise, the following year there was another swan couple that came. They had their babies and have been coming back ever since! This year they had four beautiful babies that I can say I have had the pleasure of watching grow. My kids and I often stop to admire them.

              Today however, I was in a hurry to get home. With a car full of groceries, two tired kids and one weary mom after a very long day, I still stopped to watch the swans. My son asked, "Didn't you say we had to hurry home to get the groceries put away?"I simply smiled and said back to him, "Pretty soon they will be bidding us adieu..." grabbed my camera, and the kids and I watched while they graced us with their presence for possibly one last time for the season. Funniest part is that while we sat there, 3 more cars stopped behind us for I'm sure the same reason.
              I think I mentioned earlier in my blog world that one of my favorite books, a book that I read myself as a child, read to my older kids when they were little, and read again to my two youngest is Trumpet of the Swans by E.B. White. I do believe that we will read it again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chocolate cake and falling leaves...

Today started out a bit rough in Casa Chaos. It might have been because I had a hard time sleeping last night so my hubby got up with the wee ones and gave them breakfast today. As said by Bill Cosby’s children “Dad’s great, brings me chocolate cake!” Not the ideal breakfast if you want to accomplish something with a 6 and 8 year old. So we took a few deep breaths (I made them do this too), sat down and read the book Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen. Great book by the way. There are questions for discussion at the end about how to be a better listener. There is also a web site for additional resources:

Once the sugar rush subsided, we were able to continue with our day and actually achieve the things on our agenda.
With fall/autumn officially starting in 2 days I felt obligated to do fall activities today.  We live ensconced  in pine trees so no falling leaves to see in our yard; however we have the great fortune of living across the street from some wonderful people that have beautiful trees that are absolutely gorgeous in the fall. The trees have only just begun to lose their leaves but we still had to pick some up for examination. We cut out leaves that will eventually find their way on a bigger project next week.
            We also wrote acrostic poems based on the word `leaf’. Idea, compliments of Enchanted Learning.

            So after a productive day of acheivments that also included jazz and ballet, two little kids are crashed out. These are the moments that make me sit back in bed at night and smile to myself with much gratitude at how blessed I am.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Parental rights..Please read...

While sitting here this morning checking email and such, I came a cross an email from regarding parental rights. This is a very important topic for parents who want to protect their kids and continue to be able to choose things that they feel are best for them, whether it be education, health, or their all around well being.

I implore each and every parent to be proactive in every aspect of their children's lives!  Make educated decisions!  Be informed!

That being said, whether you are an advocate of vaccinations or against them is somewhat irrelevant, every parent should have the right to make decisions for their own children as to when or if they should receive a vaccine or anything else for that matter! This article at explains how those rights are being taken from us behind our backs! The Healthy Home Economist also shares a youtube video on the subject that is a must see.

As I've said, whether you are pro vaccine or against vaccine, if and when our children are vaccinated should be a parents right to know, as well as be educated about what is being put into our children!

Parental rights should be something that every parent cares about no matter what your stand is as a parent. Whether you homeschool, public school, vaccinate or not, or want to ensure good health for our children, as well as good decisions.

Every parent should stay informed! is a great place to begin. If you haven't given much thought to this topic before it is definitely time to start!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why do you homeschool....

Why do you homeschool? That's a question that I get a lot! I bet I'm not the only homeschooling parent that has heard that question at least a thousand times.

For me there is a plethora of reasons. Let's start at the very beginning, because everyone knows that's a very fine place to start....

My older four kids went to public school. I will say right off the bat, I'm not knocking public school. The public school that my kids went to was great. We live in a small town so their teachers weren't just teachers, they were friends that I have so much admiration and respect for. I did, however, have a great desire to homeschool them. At that time in my life I didn't have much if any family support on the homeschool topic, and besides, I had to work. I had a son that had Mondayitis, and let me tell you, I didn't mind one bit! I would even take Monday off if I could just so I could spend that day with him!

When my husband and I decided to expand the clan and brought the 2 little ones into the world, I thought, why not? I think what it comes mostly down to is time;

Right now in my life I have the time and I can!

I have this time with them, that one day when they get married will be someone else's.

We have the time to explore so many more options than we could being limited to the time in the day at public school. Let me explain...With limited funding and time, most public schools can only offer so much even if they are a stellar school. By the time kids get home from school (in most cases around 4), if they play a sport they have time for dinner, practice or game, maybe homework, then a kiss goodnight and off to bed. Where is the time? Right now we don't have to choose, we have the time to play sports, do art, music, drama, you name it!

I feel very compelled to give them this time in my life, and so want to share this journey with them while I can, because who knows what tomorrow will bring...

So that doesn't come close to cover all of my reasons for homeschooling, but probably the most important reason I have...

Why do you homeschool?

On to a bit of interesting info, check out these famous homeschooled people. Gotta love the Internet for looking things like this up! I think a project of ours this year is going to be doing a report on one of them.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rasberries, arithmetic, and info....

Today was a long but productive day. It was our first official day "back to school". My son was very excited to start his new math book. The first few chapters are normally review so he breezed through it. We use Singapore Math. He's on book 3b. My daughter is on book 1a. Then of course we moved on to reading, music, language arts and so forth.

Then on to the fun part of the day....raspberry picking! After a bit of a chilly week last week today was a scorcher! I think I'll try to hold on to summer a bit longer after all! Of course we weren't dressed appropriately and wore shorts and short sleeves, not always the smartest choice for raspberry picking evidently. With a bit of bug spray (no deet of course) we were off! My son ate more than he picked. At one point he told me, "I've picked about 20 but only have one in my container." I expected him to be sick or at the least overly flushed, but he fared quite well. My daughter was a very dutiful picker and even managed not to scrunch her berries.
In the end, we wound up with about 5 quarts! We froze 4 and kept 1 out
 for eating .
Hopefully with in the next week or so we'll finally get a chance to make jam!
Recipes to follow!

I also heard back from the person at Tribute WTC 9-11 about homeschool students being able to enter their project contest (see blog post titled-Remembering 9-11...Where were you...) and the woman responded with a yes. I do believe that will be a project that we will be working on for next year!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Forever Remember 9-11

Words can not express the sorrow that I feel for those who lost loved ones ten years ago today. Nor can words express the gratitude felt for the heroes that so selflessly made sacrifices, and in some cases gave their lives to help search through the rubble for possible survivors, aid the injured, helped comfort someone in pain, helped bring down a plane in a field, knowing that they would die, saving possibly thousands more.

Words can not express the awe felt in a country that came together in its time of need to try to help pick up the pieces that will never quite fit back together after ten years ago today....Words can not express.....

I pledge to forever be grateful for the time that I have with my family, and to try not to waste a single minute, for our time here is fragile and precious, but most importantly a gift that should not be squandered.....

Words can not express the feelings on this day every year since ten years ago today.

Forever remember...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering 9-11...Where were you?

As I sit here looking out the window at the dreary rainy weather outside, getting ready to go watch my son play football and my daughter cheer, not really wanting to sit in the rainy cold, I noticed the date and started thinking back to 9-11-2001.

At the time I worked for the airlines as a flight attendant. I used to fly turns in and out of Boston. I was scheduled that morning to fly that same Boston turn that I had done so many times, but at about three in the morning my eight year old son crawled into bed saying that he wasn't feeling well. My husband was on a business trip, so I felt compelled to stay at home with my son. I called into work.

When we got up for the day, my son (who wasn't really sick, just wanted mom time) decided to watch a video. My phone rang several times, but too busy chit chatting with my sister-in-law I ignored it. finally when it was clear that whoever was calling was going to continue, I answered to the frantic voice of my husband saying, "thank god your home, turn on the news!" I did and was horrified to see the second plane crash into the World Trade Center. At that time people had not been aware as to which airline's flights were involved, only that the origination was Boston. It would not have been my flight, however I was still so grateful to be home with my son and desperately wanted my other children home too (they were in public school at the time). It was a surreal day to say the least, I'm sure for everyone. My son and I spent the rest of the day in front of the television watching the news and crying.

So today instead of complaining about the weather as I sit here tearing at my computer, I will go watch my kids and be thankful that I can. I will reflect with my family, as well as instill the importance of always remembering that fateful day to my children.

Here are some great web-sites that I came across to put together our September 11th materials:

 Tribut WTC 9-11, they have a tribute project contest for schools, I've sent an email to find out if homeschoolers can participate as well.

Pentagon Memorial Fund, which offers many educational materials.

Here's a tribute that I came across as well: Gone but Never Forgotten

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I do believe I'm feeling like we've gotten relatively (I use the word "relatively" lightly) back into a routine. Thursdays have always been a very busy day for us and this fall is no different. We're back to our Thursday schedule (the kids take classes at a facility that offers enrichment classes to HS kids). This year on the docket is Guitar, a Science Experiments class, Biology, Art, Drama, Martial Arts, Gymnastics, a class based on FIAR, and a class about Medieval times. After we get home there's enough time to inhale some dinner, then off to Football and Cheer leading! Is it scary that I'm feeling really good about the day right now? Feeling a little tired, but accomplished.....

Just an after's a great book that I felt hit home. It was recommended to me by a woman in a home school group that I belong to, it's definitely worth reading...

Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pondering and planning...

I've been a bit lost in thought this morning. There's a part of me that really doesn't want to let go of summer, then an itching at the back of my brain (or maybe the brisk coolness in the air this morning) saying that it's time to let fall's here ready or not!

Hence the wintry looking get-up my daughter is wearing. She has quite an original style to say the least!
A lot of people look at spring as the time for new beginnings, and it is with the prospect of new life. I also look at fall as a new beginning. Even though we home schooled through the summer for the most part, fall is still the start of a new "school" year for us, with new education material, new opportunities, new as much as I will miss you Mr. Summer...Bring on the vast prospects of the FALL! This little guy should really take cover and come back next spring ;)
So enough of the pondering and on to the planning! This week due to a lot of other obligations our "school work" is consisting of reading, music, and planning.
most of our new education materials have arrived, and the kids are pretty excited about the fresh newness of their new books and supplies.
I have also been doing geography research and found a couple of interesting looking web-sites that we plan to explore further; Sheppardsoftware has lots of cool Internet games as well as great information. Internet World Stats is another one that we'll be using.
Off to general fall activities, printables, etc...Teaching Heart has some great resources! A friend of mine that teaches at a public school turned me onto that web-site and facebook page last year. I did get a lot of use out of the site and the FREE material that you can find there!
Happy Fall Everyone!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Peaches take 2...

Ok, we didn't get to the peach jam/butter that I had promised. Instead we made peach cobbler! Click the word cobbler for the recipe. The only deviations from the original recipe that we made were to use organic whole wheat flour, organic cane sugar, we didn't measure the spices, and added a little more brown sugar crumbled onto the top. Yum!

We still have peaches left over, but I'm not sure if it'll be enough for jam or butter....maybe we'll have to pick more!

As for today, guitar, reading, the park, and preparing for company will take precedence.

On to the start of our official school year!

Monday, September 5, 2011


Ever gone peach picking? I hadn't, but love peaches! We decided to spend yesterday on a peach quest. First we went peach picking at a farm...

We had a great time trying to figure out how to tell which ones we should pick. We didn't want to pick them too ripe or rock hard.
Being that it was our first time doing this we decided to stick to a safe amount and only picked a half bushel (which is about 16 quarts).

When we were done we felt pretty accomplished. Now off to find something to do with our peaches. You can't have peaches without making peach pie! We found a flyer at the farm with a recipe that we tweaked a little to make it our own. Here's the recipe we used:

Peach Pie:
about 9-10 peaches
3/4 c sugar
2Tbsp Tapioca
cinnamon (no specific amount)
nutmeg (no specific amount)
2Tbsp (aprox) butter cut up
ready made pie crust (9 in. deep dish)
ready made pie crust to put over the top
sugar and cinnamon mixture to sprinkle over the top

Mix the first 6 ingredients together, pour mixture into the pie shell, stick the other 9 in. crust over the top and pinch pie crusts together to create somewhat of a seal. Sprinkle top of crust with cinnamon and sugar mixture then bake at 400 degrees for about 45, or until the top crust is golden.
Now the finished product was not the prettiest pie on the block, but was probably the best pie I've ever tasted!

I must throw in this disclaimer; I have only baked about 2 pies in my life! One of which was when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter who is now almost 25. The other was several years ago. So between my six year old daughter and myself, I think we did pretty well :) Next we're going to tackle peach jam or peach butter. Recipe to follow....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cool free printables

While browsing Twitter this morning I came across a tweet that recommended this site for free printables so of course I had to check it out! It looks like a pretty extensively compiled list. I plan to check it out in more detail in the upcoming week too!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Recipe Research

While operation "Clean the Classroom" continues, I decided to do some research for an up coming project the kids and I have for our school year. We've decided to find and try recipes from around the world to co inside with geography this year. Given the fact that I have two of the most finicky children on the face of the planet I felt that this would also give us a great opportunity to actually find food that they like!

While searching for international recipes, of course first up on the search is good old For anyone who's searched for a recipe on line you've got to love that web-site! I did however feel that for this specific a topic I would need a more specialized site for a more comprehensive list. Alas I stand corrected! For the most comprehensive list of recipes from around the world, whether you're looking by country, region, or continent, world recipes is where I'll be going!

As said by Primrose in Everything on a Waffle, recipe to follow....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

~Operation Clean the "Classroom"

Operation Clean the "Classroom" officially starts today....but before we can really get started let's reflect back over our past school year to find out why we're just doing this now.

Our 2010-11 school year started at the end of July last year. Over the course of our school year our oldest daughter and her husband began renovations on their house and moved in with us. Our daughter gave birth after a marathon 50+ hour labor to a beautiful baby girl via c-section...anyone that has ever had a c-section knows how painful that can be, so more the reason for her to need a bit of help at first as a new mom.

One of our sons was working towards graduating from high school, with all the additional preparations that come along with getting ready for the transition to college. as a side note he also wrestled, which consumes a lot of time...I'm very proud of his dedication, he took 2nd place in the entire state in his weight class.

Those things along with the younger kids and I adjusting to some additional classes and extra curricular activities that we added on to our year caused us to fall a little behind worries, part of why we home school is to be able to work at our own pace...needless to say we just finished our past school year about a week ago (we did take time off this summer to go on vacation to Hawaii though)! Just in time to get the older kids situated for the fall.

So here we are...Now it's time to put away the past school year and gear up for the new one! Our new school year's materials should be coming any day now, so time to make room!

Wish me luck and patience!