Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Lanterns

The day before Halloween we made lanterns on glass
baby food jars and tissue papers. We placed small
candles inside and they looked quite cute.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What Have We Been Up To? Part 1

Aside from the crafts and trips out and about, I wanted
to share some of the things we've been doing these days at
home. Except for ED's activities, these activities all
appeared in their workboxes this past week. I just love
workboxes because it lets them choose things when they
have an interest. They get very excited by some of the
things I put out for them and we'll often get wrapped up
in activities for an hour or two in the mornings. We're not
particularly rigid about how/when workboxes get done. That
said, most of our more formal "school" subjects like
reading and math get done when ED is napping. The
mornings often tend to be games, arts and crafts, and
lots of creative play time.

Pictured below:

1) ED working on the shapes puzzle.
2)LD looking through the body book and puzzle that I had
out since we've been talking about skeletons so much
this week!
3) All the kids coloring picture for Daddy's work since
this week is "Safety at Work Week"
4) More of the flower game (rolling to get the various
parts of the flower -- the stamen, calyx, stem etc.)

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What Have We Been Up To? Part 2

I think I mentioned that LD started a new short lapbook
unit on carnivorous plants. He's been very interested
in the venus fly trap. I found a free lapbook at
(didn't I mention that the other day?). And LD's been doing
little bit of work on it each day. We've been having him
do the cutting this time as there isn't as much writing
involved. (Often I cut things out if we're doing a longer
lapbook that involves lots of writing.) LD finds it
tremendously satisfying to finish up lapbooks and is often
contemplating what his next lapbook will be about.

I also found a couple of readers from
relating to carnivorous plants--one non-fiction and one
fiction! I was able to participate in a
free trial--only good until Nov. 6, 2009 and downloaded
lots of wonderful readers, just perfect for LD.

Pictured below you can see ED's sneaky little hand
trying to take one of the finished booklets!

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What have we been up to? Part 3

I know I've mentioned a number of times that we use
the Right Start Math curriculum. I really, really like the
program (and so do LD and DD)! We progress pretty
slowly partly because (as you probably have noticed) we
do lots of other math activities/games as well. But, Right
Start Math really impresses me with its use of manipulatives,
games and its emphasis on truly understanding basic
math concepts.

So, pictured below we're doing a couple of Right Start
Math activities.

In the third picture we are using a gameboard from The
Army Game
over at the Sunflower Schoolhouse. If you
haven't checked out Honey's blog, I really recommend
that you do. She's an amazing homeschooling Mom -- she
has five children including twins who just turned one. Her
website is a goldmine of wonderful resources including
free downloads and a great list of other homeschooling
blogs (called the workbox blogroll). It's a joy to go and
browse her website because I always come up with some
new gems. My latest finds from her website?

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What Have We Been Up to? Part 4

The kids have really been enjoying these math DVDs
called Mathtacular. It's a DVD about math--addition,
skip counting, place value and things like that. The kids
are really engaged by it and it covers so great math

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What Have We Been Up To? Part 5

This week, LD has been reading a Scooby Doo chapter
book aloud to me. I asked him to choose one picture from
the book for me to photograph, but he couldn't decide
and insisted I include all of these photos -- so here you are!

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What Have We Been Up To? Part 6

The kids play really well together -- and I snapped a
picture of their set up of haunted houses and transformers.
It was an involved game that lasted more than an hour!
I'm always impressed at how creative the kids are in
their free play and find that a valuable part of

The houses, by the way, are called "Sweet Streets" and
we got them used from another family for an amazing

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Making Candy Corn

We all LOVED making and eating candy corn today. It is
not sold here where we live.  We visited
for instructions. It was easy, the kids enjoyed helping me
and LD was impressed. "Wow Mom! YOU knew how to
make real candy!!!" We halved the recipe which made more
than plenty. As you can see, I added baking chocolate to
make brown candy corn. Also, I made pumpkin balls by rolling
some of the orange candy into balls and put a dab of green
on top.

If your candy starts to get too hard, you can stick it in
the microwave for 10 seconds to loosen it up.

Here's what we did:

Melted and cooked for five minutes:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/6* cup butter

*I just estimated this by filling my 1/3 cup half full!

Taken off the stove and added:
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Mixed together and then added to the mixture:
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/6* cup powdered milk
1/8 tsp salt

red, yellow and green food coloring
baking chocolate (for brown colors)

This past week we also made a couple things from canned
pumpkin . We made pumpkin bars, which were light like a
cake. The kids loved them!

I also made pumpkin spice lattes for me and Dad a few
days ago. They were interesting and others (online) said
that it tastes just like ones from Starbucks, but I've haven't
been there  in years (maybe more than 10yrs!) so I can't
say. I'd make them again sometime. I was impatient and
made one batch on the stove and one batch in the crockpot. 
They tasted the same to me--very good.
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Decorative Skulls

This morning LD and I decorated skulls. I got this idea
from First, he traced the outline
of a skull from a skeleton puzzle we have. Then he drew
the eyes, nose and mouth. We decorated it symmetrically
and cut it out. Then we put it up on our front door. Our
back-drop paintings are from the paint popping activity we did
a few weeks ago.

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Noodle and Bean Skeletons

Another project from was
the pasta skeleton . All the kids really enjoyed this
including ED who carefully used all of her pasta
and beans!

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Scientist at Work

Today we were very fortunate to have the opportunity
to visit a scientist who works for our local museum. He
has been working lately on cleaning up some fossils, though
he also does taxidermy as well.

When we arrived, the kids showed him some of the fossils
we found a couple of months ago. (I'll post a quick picture
of that below this.) Then Mr. I showed us around his

In the second picture below he is showing us a bird's
leg (see the three toes). In the last picture he was showing
us the piece he's currently working on -- he was busy
getting the dirt off of these teeth this morning. There was
a large pile of dirt by his chair.

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Fossils that we found back in June

These are the fossils we took over to show the scientist
this morning. LD and DD selected their favorites and
were excited to be able to show him their finds. They
had a large tray of fossils just like these on one of the
counters in the science lab! I also posted a picture
of where we were when we found the fossils-- again
these pictures were from June (not from today!)

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The Smelly Room

Mr. I let us take a look in the "container," a sealed room
that was VERY VERY smelly. These are some of the
animals and critters he has preserved. Some of his specimens
are on display in the museum. He and some other
scientists worked hard for 7 weeks (8am-midnight) to set
up the display at our local museum (which we went to last
week if you want to scroll down aways). He said he'd like
to change out some of the displays, but everything has to
get approval from another city (1200km away)... so like
anything bureaucracy steps in the way from what could be
a simple five minute exchange.

Sorry the pictures are so blurry, my other camera broke
(when LD dumped a container of black paint on it -- funny
about that).

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