Friday, April 20, 2012

The Zoo...during vacation week...

As homeschoolers, we tend to visit places during the week while other kids are in school.  We are spoiled, in that when we usually go places like the local museum or whatnot, we're able to do so with minimal traffic and interference.  It's quite lovely. 
Today we grouped with some other families and decided to go to a zoo.  On a Friday.  On a 70+ degree in April Friday.  During April Vacation.  It's a good thing I know I don't do drugs or else I'd have to check to see if I was high.  Only crazy people choose going to a zoo on this kind of day.
It was mobbed.  There were screaming, crying kids and parents everywhere.  One of my momma friends said, "If you feel bad about your son hitting your other son, don't feel bad because I just saw a mom hitting her son...things could be a lot worse." Yikes.
I spent a lot of time pulling the kids off of things (one of my darlings loves to climb fences, go over fences and hang out behind concessions to see what's happening), out of people's way (wrestling and fighting like ninjas in the middle of the path while crying children are being frantically wheeled around by their parents) and trying to explain why they couldn't eat what all the other kids were eating (cotton candy, fried dough, cotton candy and fried dough).
We did have a good time, though.  I swear.

Apparently they don't make Del's Lemonade like they used to...the kids still enjoyed it.

Learning about planting sunflower seeds...

Crying over spilled Del's (mind you, his cup was still half full)

Seeing what animal they jump as far as... most were rabbits.

First Del's lemonade.  It was a success story.

After a picnic lunch outside the zoo...

Climbing fun.

The little ones enjoying a fruit salad together.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nature Class, April 17, 2012

We did the Chipmunk Experiment in nature class today. 

Then we did a nature scavenger hunt.  Eli and I made a list of things to find and glued them to paper bags. 

The kids paired up and searched for the items.  It was cool to watch these guys work together, crossing items off their list and hunting for them. 

Even the youngest of them were interested in what was happening...

The Chipmunk Experiment, part deux

Back in September we found a dead chipmunk, courtesy of our cats, in our yard.  It was unmarred.  You can read more about it here

I started leading a nature class for our friends and fellow homeschoolers.  Yesterday was "Unearth the Chipmunk" day. 

A quick overview...we buried the chipmunk hoping it would decompose and we'd only find the skeletal remains.

I talked about chipmunks with the kids, introducing them to the Eastern Chipmunk.  I forwarded some curriculum links to the mamas.  I bought a box of latex-free gloves for all who were participating.
We turned over the pot I buried the 'munk in.  I gritted my teeth and we set to work with little shovels, carefully wiping the dirt away.  The kids were really gentle.  I was still gritting my teeth...expecting to find a half-rotted carcass and getting ready to be grossed out. 

We got through the entire pile of dirt.  No chipmunk remains.  WHAT?  The kids were mildly disappointed and some made a few..."are you sure there was a chipmunk in here?" comments.  Others thought the worms at the whole thing. 

Then someone found a teeny tiny bone fragment.  We all started searching and sifting.  We found more bones.  The kids got bored and another mommy and me were still plugging away. 

We put all the bones in a jar of white vinegar.  This will eat away all the yuckies and clean the bones. 

side view of the skull

Tiny bones
The kids were pretty excited about it.  I was glad we were able to find some...nothing worse than an experiment gone wrong! 

We talked about what archaeologists do while unearthing dinosaur bones.  One kids asked if we were like scientists... you bet, buddy.  

Next week we'll look at the bones and figure out what is what...once they're clean and bacteria-free.  No weird chipmunk bone bacteria for these kids. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Patriot's Day 2012

This weather has been amazingly insane.  It's April 16.  Patriot's Day.  It's New England.  Hope you're enjoying the weather as much as we are!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 2012 Seedlings

What an amazing day today is!  I was able to work a couple more sections of the garden.  I have to be really careful as it's full of poison ivy.  That is what happens when you clear a wooded area. 
I've planted a bunch of seeds in starter containers. 
I have a slew of seedlings at my mother's house.  I, unfortunately, don't make it there enough and they're not faring too well.  I should really get there more often to water them.  I used egg cartons, which is economical and easy.  But, when you forget about them...

For our home, since we don't have a suitable place for a lot of seedlings to sprout, I bought a tray (yes, by the hated Burpee) with a pad to hold in moisture so watering isn't a priority.  And there's a cover, so it acts like a greenhouse.  I have to's pretty awesome.  My seeds sprouted in less than a week.  I have a bazillion kale seedlings and about 25 tomato seedlings.  I can't wait to transplant them into bigger containers and then into our community garden. 

Tomatoes up front.

Reaching for the sun...

Pretty Kale.

First round of poison ivy from the other day. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Grape Arbor

We've expanded our garden.  Well, we've cleared a whole other area on our land that measures probably 30 x 40.  I'm just guessing, though. 

We're teaming up with some friends and starting a little community garden of sorts.  As long as they come and help weed, they can take home part of the result. 

We've got grape vines galore over here.  I don't know what kind of grapes they are.  They had attached themselves to trees and grew upwards of 30 feet in the air.  The husband built an arbor for them upon my request.  I love it.  He originally suggested using store-bought wood.  I wanted a more rustic look.  We've got tons of wood from fallen trees...why not use those?  Here is the finished product...
I had to yank down the vines from the tree.  There is still one left that won't budge...and I'm not climbing up there to unhook it.  While pulling them down I hit my face with a vine.  I've got a nice scab on my nose now.  It also busted my glasses...  I need to start wearing protective goggles when I go outside. 
From the vines and from pulling up saplings and roots and such, I've now got poison ivy on my face.  Saw that one coming.  I'm thinking I'll have poison ivy on my face from now until November. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Daylight Savings...

Sometimes your children will fall asleep while waiting for you to get off of Facebook...

And sometimes they'll hang out with you while you're up close and personal with bees...

And sometimes your kids will get along AND pose for pictures.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Walking in the Woods

The husband and the boys go walking behind our property all the time.  It's usually when I need time to relax or time to clean, so I haven't ventured as far as they have.  Today I saw the much talked about truck that is just sitting out there.  I also got to witness the beauty that is the wilderness I live so close to. 

Who leaves a truck in the middle of nowhere?

I was freaking out and had to walk away because there was glass everywhere they were climbing. 

I didn't capture how very cool this all looked in person very well.

Deer tracks.

Littlest Man.

Beautiful moss covered rocks were everywhere.

My middle guy.  He's just so handsome.
 It was 25 degrees out and sunny.  All bundled up and moving, it was almost like it was 30 degrees out.  It was a beautiful day.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Homeschooling Cub Scouts

I haven't posted in a while.  Well, I posted stuff about my psoriasis and GAPS diet endeavor.  I started a separate blog for that.  It just didn't seem right to post it all here. 

Last month I started a homeschooling Cub Scout pack.  The beauty of it is that it's during the day and siblings can come along.  Meetings are chaos, but the kind of chaos we're used to and love. 

So far, we've visited an old school  house and the fire station.  We've done flag ceremonies (complete with incorrect renditions of the Pledge of Allegiance) and made paper airplanes.  We've gone to see Doktor Kaboom!  We've created scrapbooks and learned about health and safety - making first aid kits and learning about Stop, Drop and Roll.  We've done hands on fun with simple machines.  We've done a ton of science experiments - liquid, gas, solid.  This weekend we'll be venturing out with our map and compass skills. 

The really excellent thing about this is that we can work it all into our homeschooling "curriculum" or standards.  We have done enough science, working on the belt loop and pin requirements, to last a few months!  Not that we'll stop anytime soon on that learnin'. 

Team work to move that incline plane.

Incline plane to move a heavy log onto the wagon.

Old School knuckle rapping for these kids!

Tiger Scouts

Mentos and Diet Coke explosion.

Bernoulli's Effect/Law/Principle (I've seen it called all three)
Blowing into a playing card and having the flame come towards you rather than away. 
Pretty cool stuff there.

I love homeschooling.  And I love homeschooling Cub Scouts.