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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wonder-full Wednesday {Nature in my pocket}

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hello Monday {Milestones}

Hello Monday is our place to welcome a brand new week and reflect on the old one. 

Hello to this goofy kid who has grown into a remarkable young man and is celebrating a milestone birthday this week.

Hello to beginning to learn HOW TO DRIVE! A REAL CAR! (Brake . . . brake . . . brake . . . BRAKE!)

Hello to a long To-Do list this week, but also to remembering to slow down and focus on the really important things.

{Linking up with Lisa Leonard for Hello Monday.}

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Back to School Traditions

I have seen many back-to-school photos on various blogs lately, and I wished I had started this tradition when my kids were all younger.  It's a neat way to record their growth and officially mark the first day of each new grade.  I thought it would be nice to start doing this now, and when we decided to officially start our new year, I told the boys that I wanted to take photos of them to kick off the day.  "Wait!" they said, "we have to get ready."

Yep...ready for high school.
 I told them they'll regret this one day...

Middle school, here we come.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kids in the Garden: Diggin' Up Worms

The most fun thing about planting new flowers
 is seeing all the wiggly worms uncovered when Daddy digs the holes.

Each one gets named:  Kevin, Bob, Wendell, George, Danny...

And then they are carefully placed back into the holes

So that they can do their work in the soil.

{Linking up with Oregon Cottage for the Garden Party.}

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hello Monday {Play Ball!}

Hello Monday is our place to welcome a brand new week and reflect on the old one. 

Hello to memories made from a weekend with family and experiencing major league baseball.
Hello to kids who soaked up every minute with cousins.
Hello to coming home and cooking breakfast food for supper (the best!)
Hello to a humongous laundry pile that will get done, but then another one will take its place.
Hello to easing back into our school schedule.
Hello to Halloween costume catalogs that came in the mail, and kids who are planning theirs already.
Hello to making a menu of lunch ideas for busy school days.
Hello to an atmosphere of fall, even though there's no hint of it in the air.

{Linking up with Lisa Leonard for Hello Monday.}

Friday, August 17, 2012

Meet Chicken Boy!

   Chicken Boy has super powers; he is able to show kids that there is no reason to be afraid of someone just because he or she is different from them.  Chicken Boy:  The Amazing Adventures of a Super Hero With Autism is the story of a boy with a different way of viewing the world.  This book is a wonderful tool for teaching autism awareness to kids of all ages.  My boys were immediately drawn to it when they saw the cover.  What boy can resist a cape?  They knew right away that Chicken Boy was someone they wanted to meet. The illustrations of Chicken Boy's thoughts clearly depict his perceptions of his environment, and my kids could relate to his fears and understand his ways of coping.
   Kids with autism will feel like they have a champion in Chicken Boy, and he might help them realize that the things that make them special are the things that can give them strength.  Everyone is unique and deserves acceptance.  Chicken Boy: The Amazing Adventures of a Super Hero With Autism shows kids how simple it is to reach out and relate to others.  This book is a valuable resource, and with the likelihood that kids will encounter other kids with autism or special needs either in school or in other settings, it is a perfect addition to any reading list.  We all have an inner chicken, but if we let it loose, we can soar--BAHCAAAAAAH!
   {The author provided me with a copy of this book for review.}

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Garden Party: Maypops

Our maypops are blooming again, and the vine
 has gotten huge since this time last year
 It is growing beside the garden, climbing all the way up a bush/tree
 and sprawling down on the ground around it. 
We found some interesting history of the maypop (aka passion flower)
 and learned that the name, passion flower, was given to it by Spanish explorers who thought it symbolized the passion of Christ.  The regional name, maypop, was given because of its fruit which makes a popping sound if stepped on and popped open, and also because the vine comes back each year, usually "popping up" in May, or springtime.

This year, the vine is loaded with fruits as big as oranges. 
We sliced one open to see what it looks like inside.

The inside smells like peanut butter, and the seeds are soft and squishy.

J-man discovered a thin membrane surrounding the seeds and peeled it .  We thought it looked like the inside of an eggshell.  We are hoping to get some fruits after they ripen,
 if we can beat the critters to them.

{Linking up with the Garden Party at Oregon Cottage}

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hello Monday {Cockadoodle Don't }

Hello Monday is our place to welcome a brand new week and reflect on the old one. 

Our chickie babies are three and a half months old, and we've been suspecting that Foghorn was a boy for a while, since he has been such a leader and protector. He started making some suspicious sounds last weekend and was belting out full-fledged cockadoodledoos by the middle of the week.

Hello to a new home. There's something about a rooster's crow that make it seem like it can be heard for miles. Sadly, we had to start looking for a permanent home for him, and one of my mom's neighbors agreed to take him to keep as a pet. He has a huge chicken house with many different varieties of hens and sells eggs daily.

Hello to a new friend who had a cage all to herself and was in need of a roomie. She is a sweet and docile rescue chickie who is blind in one eye.

Hello to blue eggs for the boys to bring home (but not fertile ones this time.) There were chocolate brown ones and pink ones too. 

Hello to little quail eggs in a heap.

We were surprised when the eggs the boys brought home in April actually hatched, and we've learned so much on this journey of discovery watching the chickies grow. Hopefully, the two we still have will start laying eggs one of these days, and nobody else will start crowing...

{Linking up with Lisa Leonard for Hello Monday}

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I recently had the pleasure of exploring the new enhanced eBook from the genius behind Jump Into a Book, Valarie Budayr, and her collaborator Roscoe Welply. The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is chock full of fun, including:

Over 20 Crafts and Activities that not only entertain, but educate. Ever wonder where chocolate comes from? Or how gum is made? Conduct experiential activities in the areas of crafting, cooking, and game-playing as well as exploring many facets of candy production.
A story filled with beautiful graphic illustrations including tantalizing Treasure Maps and vibrant tutorials.
A chance to “meet” original Willy Wonka author himself, Roald Dahl.
The option to take Charlie’s journey over the course of several days or take shorter journeys if you wish.
The creation of a new ritual of reading time with your family and the opportunity to experience the reading of this imaginative tale as a group activity, not a solitary event.
The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a truly unique experience, and I have never seen anything like it. As I scrolled through each page, I was mesmerized by the beautiful graphics and surprised by how much good stuff is packed inside.

My favorite part of the book is that the majority of the activities use items you probably already have or would be able to get at the grocery store, and printable resource sheets are provided. The activities are simple to do, yet creative and relevant to Roald Dahl's book.

Only another mom would understand the importance of making the ingredients easy to get your hands on and including all the printable resources you need. She even tells you exactly where and how to set up the activities in your home.

There is background information on topics such as where chocolate comes from and how gum is made to enhance learning, yummy recipes that are explained simply enough for kids to master, along with full-color photographs illustrating each project and topic covered. 

The games, crafts, and activities cover language arts, history, science, art, and cooking. 

The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a wonderful supplement to reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or for celebrating Roald Dahl day in September. Click here to see a sneak peek for yourself, and download a free sample.

 {The author provided me with an advance copy for review purposes} 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Meeting Roy G. Biv

 The morning sun casts a rainbow on the schoolroom floor through the prism in the window.

The boy decides to name the colors, and Roy G. Biv is discovered.
{Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet}

He checks to see if there is a rainbow outside.
We move the prism around to cast the colors onto the ceiling,
 the books, the wall,
and the cat.

And then the boy scoops it up into his hand.

Monday, August 6, 2012

2012-2013 Schoolroom: A Place to Gather

Our big table in the center of the room is the place where we can all gather to work on projects together, or to just be together while working independently.  It's kind of the home base.  When the kids were younger, we did all our schoolwork at the table, but this year they all have "big boy" desks.  Everyone still likes to check in, and when we are working on common subjects, like history or science, the table is our go-to spot. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

2012-2013 Schoolroom: A Place to Play

J-man decided he has outgrown his little kitchen, so we moved the train coffee table/train table to the corner, and it is currently the lego table.  It's perfect for setting up stop-motion animation sets, and the boys are currently filming J-man's latest screenplay, "Fire Man," about a super-hero who can shoot fire out of his hands to fight bad guys.

We have a small chalkboard, a magnetic calendar, and vowel letter cards on the wall, and the file cabinet provides a magnetic surface for letters.  The little chair was my dad's.  When he was in kindergarten in the 1940s, he had to bring his own chair to school.  His name is written on the bottom, and at the end of the year, each child took his chair home with them.  My grandmama always had it until it was passed on to me.

At the other end of the room, we have a storage bench under the window that houses baskets full of, what else?  legos.  The reading corner is to the right, and there's a basket of wooden blocks in the other corner.  My boys have had these wooden blocks for fourteen years, and they are still the most played with item we own.  It is amazing how much they still do with these:  race tracks, star wars bases, Avengers battle fields, animal parks, concert arenas...
Usually, legos or blocks are ALLOVER THE FLOOR in this area.