Friday, November 30, 2012

DIY: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Secret Sewer Lair

Recycled cardboard, imagination, lots and lots of tape.

Ingenuity and persistence
(and lots and lots of tape)

The turtles have a place to work out, a place to lounge and eat pizza, a place to skate, and a place to sleep...

What more could a ninja turtle need?
(Maybe more tape.)

{Update:  see the progress since this post}

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Reading {Favorite}


Night Tree by Eve Bunting is one of our all-time favorite Christmas picture books.  It is beautiful and filled with the joys of family, nature, and Christmas.  You can read my entire review over at Home Educating Family:

A family sets out on Christmas Eve to find their tree; it is a familiar tradition they keep every year. Bundled up in warm clothes, they drive through town, 'to where the dark and quiet begin.'
Eve Bunting’s lyrical prose, along with captivating illustrations by Ted Rand, pulls readers into the story from the first page of Night Tree, a nature lover’s must-have picture book for the holiday season. The book portrays a surprising and wonderful Christmas experience as the loving family heads out into the woods with blanket and supplies in hand to find their tree... (Continue reading)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wonder-full Wednesday

"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Reading {Fun}

During the holidays, I switch out the books on our book rack with some Christmas and winter-themed reading.  I have new reviews posted at Home Educating Family of two of our favorites.  Both make fun read-alouds, and the first one is an especially good choice for early readers.  I hope you'll follow the links to read my entire reviews, and let me know your favorite holiday books:

My youngest son is a huge fan of Nate the Great, and is usually inspired to act out a mystery himself after reading one of these books. Around Christmas, it is fun to have holiday-themed books featuring familiar characters, especially when they are good stories...(Continue reading)


The Little Fir Tree has been reissued with illustrations by Jim LaMarche, whose book The Raft is another of our all-time favorites. The Little Fir Tree, first published in 1954, is a timeless story of love, hope, and miracles. A small fir tree sits alone in the forest over the years until it grows big enough to become a Christmas tree... (Continue reading)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hello Monday {Blue Ribbon Boy}

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

This silly boy will be saying "Hello" to the mayor this week when he receives his certificate for winning a blue ribbon in the Thanksgiving art show. 

Hello to giving decorating responsibilities to the boys. They love to set things up, and I love to see what they come up with.

Hello to simplifying. Not all of the decorations are coming out this year, thanks to our youngest cat who is seeing all the joy for the first time -- up close. Too close.

Hello to keeping the spirit of the holidays in the holidays and not getting too busy to soak up the joy.
Hello to making a list and thinking about Christmas shopping.  I haven't done one single bit yet.
Hello to listening to Christmas music on the radio when we are out and about running errands.

Hello to settling back into our daily routine after a week off for Thanksgiving.

{Linking up with Lisa Leonard for Hello Monday.}

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hello Monday {Thanksgiving Countdown}

Gobble, gobble...
   Can you believe the holidays are here already?  Where did the time go?  This week, we're saying hello to a week of time off from schoolwork and celebrating family time.


   Hello to the birthday boy who is celebrating his last year in the single digits.  As I said above, where does the time go?  It flies...

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

Hello to the annual Thanksgiving week with cousins. The boys love it when the girls come to stay for a few days, and they take advantage of every minute together.

Samaritan's Purse

Hello to dropping off our Operation Christmas Child shoebox, gathering items to make "blessing bags" for the homeless, and remembering to count our blessings.

{Linking up with Lisa Leonard for Hello Monday.}

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wonder-full Wednesday {Blustery}

Hum dum dum
ditty dum

Hum dum dum

Oh the wind is lashing lustily

And the trees are thrashing thrustily

And the leaves are rustling gustily

So it’s rather safe to say

That it seems that it may turn out to be

It feels that it will undoubtedly

It looks like a rather blustery day, today

It sounds that it may turn out to be

Feels that it will undoubtedly

Looks like a rather blustery day today

-Winnie the Pooh 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day {Gratitude}

 Learning about Veteran's Day

Be sure to thank a veteran today!

   The VA has a free downloadable resource guide, which will help children understand the significance of Veteran's Day:

"This Teacher Resource Guide is designed to help educators teach students about the legacy of Veterans Day, why it is celebrated and how to properly thank our Nation’s servicemen and women for their sacrifices."
Take the time to learn more about what this holiday means and why it is so important that we support our nation's veterans.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Nature Study Through Living Books: Pagoo

Find Pagoo here.

The Holling Clancy Holling books are wonderful living books to use to teach geography, science, writing, and nature study. My kids and I have worked through Beautiful Feet's Geography study using several of the Holling books.

At this year's homeschool convention, I discovered a study guide to Pagoo at the Queen Homeschool booth. It seems that the study guide may now be out of print, but if you can get your hands on a used copy, it makes a nice unit study that all ages can do, with modifications. I love it when all three of my boys can work on a project together.

I have a review of the study guide over at Home Educating Family if you'd like to learn more:

Nature Study Through Living Books: Pagoo is not fancy, so do not judge it by its cover. It is only seven pages long, but each daily lesson is substantial, and we spent between thirty minutes to an hour on each one. My favorite thing about this guide is that it proves that homeschooling does not have to be expensive or complicated. (continue...)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wonder-full Wednesday {Friends}

When your tiger needs a bath, stick close by for moral support,
read comics to pass the time,
and keep checking for the signal to buzz.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hello Monday {Adventure}

Hello to Homeschool Adventure Day at YMCA camp.  Hello to trying new things and building confidence.

Hello to slowing down and spending the day outside in the crisp fall air.

Hello to letting them fly.

And to seeing a glimpse of the men they will become.

{Linking up with Lisa Leonard for Hello Monday and with Outdoor Play}

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo Month is Here!


   Do you know nanowrimo?  November is National Novel Writing Month, and thousands of inspired writers have set goals to write an entire novel in thirty days.  My son has participated in the Young Writer's Program for three years, and he has been counting down the days until NaNoWriMo 2012.  In fact, he started working on his novel at 12:01 this morning.  It was so neat to hear him say, "NaNoWriMo starts tonight at midnight!"  I didn't even try to fight his night-owl tendencies last night.  Free lesson plans for grades K-12 and other resources, including author pep talks, are available on the website.