Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We're in love...

With Twirly Skirts!

I've been trying to learn how to sew, but for some reason I have a mental block about going out and buying a pattern. But the girls have been begging me to try to make them more dresses, especially ones with "skirts that twirl". The first thing I thought of was one of those 50s poodle skirts, and I actually found a bunch of tutorials on-line for how to make them (this one was one of the most straight forward). They're also known as "circle skirts", and though they use a LOT of material, they're really not too hard to make (tho' I certainly made my share of mistakes).

I added a very simple tube top to the skirt for a dress for CarriBear.

But I'm not actually writing about the dress itself (did I mention I made a lot of mistakes?), but about the transformation it made in CarriBear. She is not a tomboy, but she has never been quite as "girly" as my other daughters, preferring to play or ride her bike more than dressing up and primping. But she sure turned on the "girl" when she put this dress on! Curtsying, daintily picking flowers, posing for pictures. It was all just too cute.
Luckily, I was given a big pile of excess material from a family member who used to work at a men's shirt factory, so I can make a lot of practice skirts while I fine tune my sewing skills (and it will take a lot of those practice skirts). But the girls don't seem to mind the mistakes or the outdated patterns, and I love how it makes them feel "all princess-y".

Just had to share...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekly Wrap-up - Week 7

I'm a little late posting last week's wrap-up (can it really be time to start a new week already?).

Here's a few goings-on in our homeschool last week:

The younger girls learned about "day and night" animals doing a cute print-out from here (I love this site!)

We visited a butterfly garden on a field trip with our homeschool group

and were served by Wendy herself at lunch afterwards!

The next day we went on our own backyard butterfly hunt

Can you find the butterfly?

We took a nature hike around a lake

The best part was the surprise playground we found at the end of the hike

We (finally) started our astronomy study this week. We're using Apologia Astronomy and love it so far (tho' I have to admit, the highlight of last week's study was the lecture on the planets by our "guest professor" (MyBuddy made these great foam ball planets in a co-op class a couple of years ago and still remembered every fact he learned about the planets)

I usually just make our own notebooking pages, but the Apologia Astronomy text had an optional notebook with it with tons of notebooking pages, and I'm SO glad I ended up purchasing them for the kids. Big time saver.

My favorite narration was Lil' Diva's "Green-haired Alien with Lollipops"

I was hesitant to start Lil' Diva on the violin at age 3, but when all the other kids got their new instruments this year, she could hardly stand to be left out so we consented. But actually doing daily practice wasn't working too well for Lil' Diva at first. But this week I borrowed an idea from her gymnastics coach, who had given her a stamp around her wrist each time she performed a skill, until it finally made a cute bracelet. We tried the same thing with star stickers each time she played her notes, and it worked great! So I guess I'm off to the store to buy more star stickers :)

MyBuddy did a lot of his school work on computer this week, including our favorite resources Reading Upgrade and Dance Mat Typing.

In history we learned about early Egypt and King Narmer's merging of Upper and Lower Egypt (and made our own Double Crown fashion accessories)

The kids went to their swim lessons

Part of the kids' math this week was making brownies, all by themselves. They did great!

But the best part of the week is that it finally stopped raining long enough for us to get to play outside a little. Hooray!

Now time to stop blogging and start THIS week of school. See what others did in their homeschooling week at The Weekly Wrap-Up.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Extraordinary World

Barb over at Handbook of Nature Study put out a challenge to find the Extraordinary in the Ordinary. After reading Barb and Dana's great posts about meeting the challenge, we had to give it a try.

First I asked the kids to go out and find five things in the yard that they see all the time, but would like to learn more about.

They came up with some great subjects. There were a few things that were on everybody's list, so we decided those would be the first things we studied. Here's our list:
  • Mushrooms
  • Ants
  • Morning Glories
  • Butterflies
  • Cats
Things we see, pass by, everyday, but I know with a little research and close observation, we will discover just how extraordinary they are.

We started last week with BUTTERFLIES, which we kicked off with a field trip to a local butterfly garden.

(you may need to click to enlarge the picture (sorry))

It was run by a retired couple out of their home. Butterflies are their passion, and they had a lot of information to pass along about the butterfly life cycle. We learned so much, like that butterflies have taste buds on their feet (which gave my way-too-creative son some interesting (and unfortunate) ideas about how to eat his soup when we got home), that most butterflies only live as butterflies for a few weeks, that it has to be at least 70 degrees for a butterfly to be able to fly, and what our state butterfly is.

They had a nursery with caterpillars and chrysalises. The ones on the right are monarchs.

The next day we went on our own backyard butterfly hunt, drew the butterfly life cycle, and charted what time of day we saw the most butterflies.

It was fun watching the kids notice butterflies with new eyes. We even got to see our state butterfly, which the kids thought was the coolest thing ever.

Definitely an extraordinary creation.

Here are some butterfly links we checked out to supplement our study:
Next week we're going to try to explore mushrooms, since they are EVERYwhere after all this rain we've been getting.

I'm not a big fan of the mushroom, but I'm looking forward to learning some of it's secrets...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You Capture: Happiness

Happiness is....

a pair of big pink flippers
to help you enjoy the last days of summer

See more happiness captured at this week's You Capture Challenge

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