Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

White board magic

Wanted to share what's been a little boost to our homeschool lately - my dad found a bunch of these "personal-sized" white boards at a thrift store, and they've been a school tool and a toy all in one. BeachPea, who has never been too crazy about practicing writing or spelling on paper, has been begging me for words to write and spell on her white board. And she brings me her board all day long, asking me to write the hardest math problems I can think of, then she skips off happily to do her math - for fun!

And all the kids LOVE to draw on their boards. And I can take a picture of their masterpieces when they're done, instead of having a stack of papers to keep up with (because no way can I ever throw away one of their precious works of art!)







My husband found some great dry erase markers at Wal-mart - they're called Expo "Click" and I love them because there's no tops to keep up with. And they write really well.



At this time of year, when we're all pining for a Spring Break, we'll take anything we can get to make school more interesting. And hey, we're saving trees, too. Go us!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Right now

My aunt sent me this photo she took of DJ (formerly known as "Lil' Diva". I've decided to change her blog name to her initials, as Lil' Diva was becoming just too much of a self-fulfilling prophecy :). Her antics are totally cute at this age, but when she rolled her eyes at her violin teacher when she said it was her turn to play the other day, I knew things had gone a little too far). Anyway, I just had to post it, and thought I'd take a moment to record what my littlest angel is all about right now...

Right now, sweet DJ, you love to:

sing and dance, all day, all the time
be just like your big sisters
draw the cutest critters and people, all with long and pretty eyelashes
cuddle like crazy
play in the sandbox
be just like your big sisters
proudly blow bubbles while you swim (such a big girl!)
"read" your favorite books, especially "Pinkalicious"
chew bubble gum
dress just like your dolly
pick out fabric and design your own dresses
drink chocolate milk (but eat nothing)
"need" bubble gum medicine for every boo-boo
wear your favorite pink shoes
play "kidoz" on the computer (especially "Dora")
watch Blue's Clues and Fraggle Rock
listen to music on your ipod (especially "Walk the Dinosaur" and "True to Your Heart")
wear your hair in a french braid (which is a good thing, since I can never get your pony tails in just the right position)
jump and roll on the bed
ride your bike
flash those dimples to get you out of any sticky situation :)

and we think you are wonderful!

Monday, February 22, 2010

February Unplugged: Weekend Fun

Hooray for a day that was warm and beautiful enough to warrant a pitcher of lemonade!


and to make movie productions outside


and to put on puppet shows


that are so cute even the dog wants to watch :)


and the audience begs for more

(the cast signs autographs afterwards)

now back to that movie making...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Latest Sewing Projects (Attempts)

Been sewing a little lately - not too successfully - but still, thought I would share my "oopses" for fun. I had a stain on the sleeve of this shirt (at the end of it's days our old dryer starting leaving these lovely burn marks on our clothes).


So I thought I would try to turn it into a more updated peasant-style shirt. But, I cut a little too much off the top, or maybe not enough, and it was a little too tight for me in it's new form (one of these days I'll learn to measure right). So, I decided to turn it into a dress for Lil' Diva instead...


I picked an unfortunate color for this project, because it looks every bit like a hospital gown. But she still loves it as a playdress anyway...

and wore it ALL DAY yesterday, which is an amazing feat for any outfit of Lil' Diva's, as she usually changes clothes at least four times a day.

This next project was a bit of an "oops", too, as far as measuring went, but Lil' Diva designed it from top to bottom - from the shape of the sleeves to the style of the dress, adding some very interesting hair accessories, and putting together patterns that I never would have. But she is so proud of it and absolutely loves it.

so I'm glad I bit my tongue and let her have her way with it.


Because in the end, it's the smiles that count.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Backyard Bird Count/Robin Study

I've been shamefully neglecting our nature studies lately, but BeachPea has fallen in love with robins this season, and begged me to let us do a study of them. Well, anytime a child BEGS me to do anything school-ish, especially on one of our first almost warm and sunny days in like, a million years, then of course I'm going to drop everything else and get to studying those robins!

We read a little about robins in The Handbook of Nature Study (we're still using the free online version - one of these days I'm going to buy the actual book). Then the kids headed out with their binoculars and bird guides in search of robins.


Lil' Diva got tired of waiting to see one, and retired inside with her butterfly guide (we were out of bird books)

Of course, we saw plenty of robins earlier in the week, but they were hiding from us yesterday. We had almost given up our search when we finally found this pair hiding near the woods...



You know, I didn't even realize that male and female robins had different markings? Bad homeschool teacher. I guess I had always only noticed the funny, cartoonish males with their fat orange bellies.


But BeachPea and I were both taken with how graceful and pretty the slender-er females are.


that's why BeachPea decided to draw the girl for her nature sketch.




We also participated last week in the Great Backyard Birdcount.

The February Fury blew in just before the event and I was a little worried we might not get to participate.

But it cleared out pretty quickly and left us with lots of hungry birds to count (including this adorable house sparrow, a Lorienna newcomer this year).

I love red cardinals against a winter background.

Carolina Chickadee - one of my favorites

Tufted Titmouse (another Lorienna favorite)

Here's our final count during the Great Backyard Bird Count weekend:

Sunday:
  • Cardinal - 2
  • Carolina Chickadee - 2
  • junco - 3
  • sparrow (not sure of the type - song? fox?)
  • white-throated sparrow - 2
  • house finch - 5
  • dove - 2
  • blue jay
  • robin

Monday:
(fun because we had some new visitors arrive)
  • american goldfinch - 2
  • chipping sparrows - 2 (while out walking that day we found one of these fluttering on the ground with a giant tick on its head (ew!). We were able to catch it and pull the tick off. The girls were thrilled to be able to see it up close (the sparrow, not the tick). Went out later to check on it and it was gone, so hopefully it was able to eventually fly off. Don't know if the tick was affecting it's flying or not...?)
  • house finch - 5
  • carolina chickadee - 2
  • house sparrow
  • tufted titmouse - 2
  • blackbirds - 50 gazillion
  • blue jay
  • cardinal - 4
  • white throated sparrow
  • mourning doves - 2

Of course, one of the best things about bird watching is that it gets us outside

even if we're not watching birds the whole time


our bird count was pretty low compared to what we'll get in the Spring.

can't wait for all those little nests to be filled again.

You can find tons of other bird studies over at Barb's Handbook of Nature Study blog.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A new mission

You know I'm not usually one to wax philosophical outloud, but I just finished reading Uncle Tom's Cabin in the wee hours of last night, and how could anyone read that without feeling a little thoughtful afterwards. Of course, like a nation that came before me, I was inspired to action of the noblest kind after finishing the book, and then immediately thanked God that the book's particular call to action was mercifully no longer necessary. But I asked God what he would have me do - champion the cause of the Haitian orphans, fight against the moral decline of our nation - I was ready to be led anywhere. His answer came back loud and clear. You are to be the mistress of your home, and make it a lovely place to live in.

Really?

Because I'm thinking that's not sounding very noble and heroic.

But I knew it was the right thing. A mistress takes care of all in the home - which also means being responsible for the education and health of our four amazing blessings. And mostly, guiding them to an earthly and eternal life of living for God. And creating a lovely home means not just one that is pretty and joyful, but one that is LOVE-ly, in which every act is done out of love for those in it. Perhaps those things are a little bit noble. And maybe, if a nation of mothers would do the same, the problems of our nation might be whittled down a tiny bit at a time...?

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that God has told me to just keep up the same ole' same ole'. The truth is, my house is NOT always love-ly, and I do not always keep it up as well as I should. Housekeeping and cooking are excruciatingly tedious to me, and I would infinitely rather be creating something new than maintaining what I already have. This that God has asked of me is a new (and improved) mission, and one that may be just as difficult (for me) as doing mission work in Africa or fighting for the legal rights of homeschoolers. But I know it is the right thing to do. For now. Perhaps someday I'll have a different mission, but for now I'll face this one with happiness and determination. And I'm not at all saying that it is every mother's job to stay home and not help anyone else, just that God is telling me that this is the season for me to do my part in the world by getting my own act together. For there is influence and glory-giving in that as well.

I woke up early this morning to a sparkling hallway and a kitchen in the midst of being scrubbed clean. I looked around for the magical elf who was cleaning my house while I slept, and found BeachPea hiding under a blanket on the couch. "Surprise!", she popped out and yelled, "after being sick the last few days I thought you might like to wake up to a clean house". I did like it, and BeachPea and I spent the rest of the morning tidying up and making the house lovely so everyone else could wake up to a clean house, too. BeachPea didn't know of my "new mission" when she staged her surprise this morning, so I can only take it as a thumbs up from God that I am on the right track. He sent me a helper.

Anyway, it didn't work with my new year's resolutions, but I'm posting this outloud anyway to help keep me accountable. Thanks for listening. This blog will now return to it's regularly scheduled fluffiness, with a few cutie kid pictures.... :)



how's this for cute and fluffy? :)



nope, no spoiled kitty cats around here


sweet sisters (just don't let them know I told you)

(showing off new Valentine's outfits from Grandma)

(with Piper and Aunt Laurie)

(thanks Grandma!)

what homeschooling mother doesn't get a little thrill out of this kind of scene? :)

BeachPea, just before last night's Fine Arts Festival performance
(she did great!)


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