Dino Dig

We are wrapping up Kaia’s Prehistory studies this next week and she has been begging to do a dinosaur dig. I got this kit because it looked like it was pretty good quality and the tools (which are metal) could be used again.

The kit says it can be ‘hours of fun’, especially if you go slowly and carefully, like a real paleontologist would.  While this did fill up a chunk of the mid day, when you go at it like a jack-hammer it won’t take long to get to the bones.  Kaia’s never been one to be gentle about much 🙂

Leif woke up while she was working and was a wonderful assistant!

Little hands, hard at work!  I love it!

Kaia has changed it’s name from a tyrannosaurus to a Droptolipadon because anything she tried to feed it fell right out of it’s mouth.

Our day in pictures

Let’s start our morning with some daredevil antics!

Don’t see anything wrong with this?

Let’s look again:

Then off to a sweet farm tour where we enjoyed some fabulous home made jellies and ice cream, and I scored an angora fleece from this guy:

Then we spent the rest of our day enjoying the beautiful spring weather:

(You didn’t know chickens can read, did you?  Well, our chickens can!)

What I didn’t get was pictures of the fabulous sand creation that we created!  We got a bucket full of sand from the pile in our back yard and Kaia put all kinds of stuff in there.  Then we all went dinosaur fossil hunting.   Even Leif was getting into it.  At one point, Kaia pulled her hands out of the sand and said, “Hey mom!  Coprolites!”  I was thrilled that she remembered the word for fossilized dinosaur poop.  Then, I looked at what she was holding in her hand and realized that it really was poop!!  Turns out the neighbor cat has been using our sand pile as a littler box!!  Needless to say, we all stopped playing archaeologists and went inside to scrub off!!! 🙂

Still, it was a fabulous day!

Summer and Second Grade plans

Kaia and I have been busy planning her summer and second grade curriculum.  No, we won’t really be doing much ‘real’ school work during the summer, but she has asked to learn about certain things, so we are planning ‘camps’.  Mythology, Weather, and Mapping camps.  She will also be attending a couple of camps outside of the house.

I’ve also put together her second grade curriculum.  When I started homeschooling, I didn’t think I’d use a lot of pre-written curriculum, but I’m finding it to be nice, especially with a little one crawling around under my feet.  It’s much easier to draw from something that’s already prepared than to have to write my own right now.  Then I can put my energy and focus on the fun stuff!  So, here’s what next year looks like:

MathRight Start C, Mind Benders, Analogies and other math games

Language ArtsAll About Spelling (we’ll probably be at level 3 by then), Language Smarts (grammer), for handwriting I’ll probably create my own copy work and also continue having her write letters and postcards to friends, along with lots of reading time.

ScienceR.E.A.L. Chemistry, and continued animal habitat studies, and Nature Walks

History – We are doing an in depth study of Prehistory this semester, so we’ll begin with Ancient History using Story of the World and History Odyssey.  (I’ll pull from both)

ArtArtistic Pursuits book 1, and continue with art group

I’d love to add in some Music and Foreign Language, but don’t have anything planned yet…

Here’s Kaia perfecting her recipe for Home Made Asteroids They were yummy!! (Oh, and we used cheese and didn’t have a problem with them going flat)

The big dig

We found this craft when we were cruising around on the web looking for info in sea monsters of prehistory. (scroll down to Sediment Fossil Surprise).  As soon as Kaia read the details, she was dying to do it.  So, saturday, we got all our ingredients together and created our layers of history in a cup.  We took out our giant time line and followed along.  Our first layer was from the Cambrian period (red jello) and had trilobite fossils (gummy bears) in it.  The next layer was the Silurian period (chocolate pudding) and contained Pneumodesmus worms (gummy worms).  The third layer was the Carboniferous Period (shredded coconut) with Belantsea fish (pink star cookies) in it (those things are crazy looking)!  Next was the Triassic (more chocolate pudding) and Lepidotes (Cashews).  Then the Cretaceous (whipped cream) and coprolites/dino poop! (chocolate covered peanuts).  Finally, topped with granola to represent the Quaternary period, or where we are today.    Whew!!

We piled these yummies high into our glasses and served them up for dad, with a card that had clues to what he might find in each layer.

As we ate our way through history we looked back at the time line to find our fossils, and when Toby was done he took out our Ancient Creature Cards and read to us about some of the things he found.

It was a sweet way to spend the afternoon.  Literally!  Nauseatingly, horribly sweet!!  I needed a big glass of water and a nap after that project!! 🙂

Coffee Fossils

As part of our dinosaur studies, Kaia and I made some coffee fossils.

(Yes, that was me who shoved Jasmines head into the clay to see what it would look like!)

It was a really simple recipe with very cool results!

I love having things like this to do in our home school days.  I often feel like we don’t get enough hands on and creative learning.  Her math and spelling/language shouldn’t ever take more than about 45 minutes total of our day, but still… sometimes it seems like all day!  I’m getting better at adding in more creative stuff, but it takes creative effort on my part to find or develop these things, and after a full day of teaching/learning/playing often, all I want to do is put my feet up and veg out!  We’ve only been at this for 7 weeks, though and I think we are doing pretty darn good!

What Homeschooling Looks Like To Me

Smrt Lernins is having a photo contest.  They want to know what homeschooling looks like to you.  Well, we’ve only been doing this for 6 weeks, but it seems like I’m always posting pictures about what Kaia is up to.  There are so many photos to chose from.  But, I think one of my favorites is one I took this last week when we went to visit family at the beach.  I absolutely love that homeschooling is portable!  We packed up some of her books and headed out to the shore, where she found herself a nice rock/table and went to work.

She did a little of her language studies first and then we read some books on dinosaurs.  We decided that we were in the perfect spot to make a dinosaur.  We measured out 160 feet (the size of a Seismosaurus), found some good drift wood drawing sticks, and drew ourselves a dinosaur!!

In this photo, I’m standing at the tail end and Kaia, the little red speck in the distance, is standing at it’s head.

And, of course, no sand dinosaur is complete without a little dino dung!

Leif wanted to support us in our dinosaur creating efforts, so he put on his Dino-Might shirt.  (Punk hair courtesy of daddy)

You need a little more of his squishy cuteness?  How about a side view?

Kaia wants to sew

Kaia has decided that since I am taking sewing lessons, I must teach her!  Now!  As often as possible!!!  So that she can use the sewing machine all by herself… with no one watching!

Hmmmmmmm….. We’ll see.

I did, however, help her make a little bag to hold her new fossil collection in.  She did a fantastic job!!

And here’s what she’s keeping in her baggie:

Trilobite cookies

You can’t study pre-history without making trilobite cookies!!

This was Kaia’s first time using the cookie press and she LOVED it! I had to make her a deal though… we make one full sheet of trilobite shaped cookies and she could use the rest of the dough to try out all the other cookie press shapes.


We ended up using this shape/disc.  It made perfect little trilobites!


Once they were cooked and cooled a little, she used raspberry preserves to put in the middle of the cookie sandwich.


Then dip them in melted chocolate and give them some eyes (we used chopped up gummy bears:-) )



And serve them up at Trilobite Tea Time!!  Mmmmmmm!!  Taste much better than chicken!


Getting outside

For a family that lives on 25 acres, we seem to spend most of our time indoors, especially in the winter.  Now that Kaia is at home most days, I thought it increasingly more important to make getting outside a priority!  So, we’ve added a weekly Outdoor Hour Challenge to our studies.  This week, we got outside and made it a point to keep quiet and listen to the things around us.  It was so peaceful and replenishing.  The 20 minutes outside turned into a couple of hours for Kaia while she ‘ice skated’ on a puddle of water.

Here are my notes from the things I heard/sensed/saw while outside:

  • The trickle of water from the stream to the pond
  • paw prints (raccoon?) in the snow on the pond’s ice
  • the crunch of our feet falling on the snow
  • crisp, cool smell of the air
  • happy bock-bocking of the chickens enjoying the warmth after a month of freezing temps.
  • snapping of the branches in the trees
  • young buds of this years leaves and fruit on our trees.
  • the smile on Leif’s face as he looks up to the clouds

a break in the weather

Finally, it’s gotten above 35 degrees!!  The snow has been on the ground for a month and it seems like every morning I’ll wake up to a little more!  The past few days it’s gotten up into the 50’s and it’s been wonderful!  The chickens are having a field day taking dirt baths and stretching out in the sun.

Speaking of chickens… have you ever heard of longcrowers?  Check this rooster out!  If you have crappy neighbors, you need to get you one of these babies!!!

Kaia and I had a great week of school!  She always starts with math.  She loves using the abacus.  Most of what we are doing is review as we try to get caught up to her skill level in her new math program.  She’s really enjoying so much hands on and not a lot of workbook pages.  Leif really likes the abacus too… I’m going to need to get him one of his own 🙂

She’s also enjoying spelling, and usually does more than one lesson a day.  There is a chart that comes with the program that you mark off each lesson you complete.  She’s on a mission to put stickers on the chart as fast as she can.  It really is amazing how fast she is progressing, though.  She’s soaking it all up.  It’s not that they didn’t teach it at her old school, but the kids had the choice to spend their day how they wanted and she always wanted to color.  Me… I’m a task master.  I think it’s important for her to start learning this stuff, so if I present it to her in a way that she enjoys, then we both win.  All About Spelling has lots of hands on too… she’s all about that!  Her reading skills are really blossoming!  She’s feeling so much more confident and she’s started reading to Leif, writing letters to friends…


This week we also continued with Prehistory and the Precambrian period.  We’ve started making a time line similar to this one.  It’s fun to see the way her mind works with stuff like this.  As she is filling in the pages, everything she pastes on the page goes in perfect alignment with the last piece.  It’s all square and in order.  Funny how some things must be in their proper place while other things (like her room) can be chaos!  We focused on volcanoes this week and she made one out of model clay.  We were supposed to create an eruption (with baking soda and vinegar) but she wanted to make a volcano just like Mako Island (from the show H2O: Just add Water, the Australian show about kids that are mermaids).  So, she didn’t want to make it erupt.

Here are her little hands hard at work.  You can see the secret entrance to the magic cave where the girls turn into mermaids.


She pulled the top of the volcano off so that she could paint the magic pool of water inside!


And here it is… Mako Island in all it’s glory!  I think she should call it Phallic Island 🙂


Leif is keeping me on my toes, too.  He finds all kinds of stuff to keep himself busy while I’m occupied with Kaia… like boxes full of shredded paper:


Even with his hands in the box, he can still give you a great “Who Me???  What did I do??”  look!

While we aren’t busy doing fun learny-type stuff, I’ve begun planning this years garden.  My cucumber, peas, greens, and beans did fabulous last year, but the squashes (winter, summer, and pumpkins) got hit hard by borers, and the tomatoes and melons just crapped out.  So, I’m going to fill each bed with a good helping of chicken poop compost to see if that helps the soil.  I’m also rotating what goes into each bed so that the heavy feeders aren’t draining the soil in the same place.  I think the only thing I’m going to drop from my list is melons.  I’ve never had good luck with them… you can’t can them up and save them for the winter, and for the space they take, you get so little return.  I’ll just buy them at the markets when they are in season and use that space for other goodies.  I’ve never had luck with Eggplant either, but it’s supposed to be so easy to grow.  I think I’m going to try the good-old standard eggplant this year instead of trying to grow the skinny kinds.   How do you grow your eggplant?

first week of school

This week was the first official full week of Kaia and I homeschooling and we had a great time.  Along with the standard weekly math, spelling/language, and stuff, we’ve begun studying prehistoric times (Thanks to Sarah for the curriculum!).  We started by doing our own little recreation of the Big Bang.  Kaia stuffed a balloon with all the confetti and glitter that she could.


Then I blew the balloon up and attached it to a post.  I also tied a bamboo skewer to the end of a broom for her to pop the balloon with (I thought it would be better if we were farther away from the balloon so that all the stuffing could burst out without us in the way, and spread across the snow like a new solar system.)   We were both in hysterics watching her trying to lance the balloon as it bounced this way and that.  When she finally got it, we were both surprised and screamed!  Then, all the stuffing fell like a lead weight straight down.  A few stray confetti flew off with the wind.  Kaia said, “Well, that wasn’t really a Big Bang, was it?”  It was hysterical!



Later in the week, Kaia tried hopscotch on her prehistoric timeline.  She had a blast, especially when the giant Leifasaurus tried to grab her as she hopped by.


And occasionally the Leifasaurus would plant his cute patoot in the middle of the time line and refuse to move!


Chasing and attacking the time traveler can be such fun!


But, he decided to let Kaia finish her exploration of the prehistoric time periods while he watched from his sweet wooden swing.  Leifasauruses need to play, too, you know!


Ornament crafting

We’ve had the crafting spirit in our home lately!  This weekend Kaia and I made some santa ornaments after seeing them at Write-It-Down.  We just happened to have everything we needed and couldn’t resist the cute little guys.




Then we had a few friends over for more crafting.  We made beeswax ornaments with beeswax from a local beekeeper!  I got 5 pounds of it!! Mmmmm, the kitchen smelled yummy!


I had some lollipop molds, so I used a dab of play dough to block where the stick would go so that the beeswax didn’t flow into that part of the mold.  I also put some sparkles in the bottom of the molds.  (You could put some on top too, right after pouring the beeswax in, if you want sparkles on both sides.)


When the beeswax was cooling, but still soft, I poked holes for the ribbons.




Then there were the glittered pine cones:


And the pipe cleaner trees (Kaia’s is looking a bit like Charlie Brown’s tree… she said she will be putting more ornaments on later 🙂


And once our friends went home, and Leif finally fell asleep, Kaia and I just kept going and made Cinnamon-Applesauce ornaments with the recipe that we found over at 5OrangePotatoes.  I love these!!  I will definitely be doing them again!!  And the cool thing is that you can use any cookie cutters you want and hang them around your house all year long!! They don’t have to be holiday ornaments.


We used some of the dough that was left over and made them into beads!!  Just roll them into a little ball and poke a tooth pick through it for the hole.



We stamped a sweet little fairy print into most of the ornaments.


The house smells delicious!!

Window Stars


I always love seeing kite paper stars in the windows.  They are so bright and happy.  They fancy-up any house!  With the winter coming on and it being a gray, gloomy day, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make some of these!   A Toy Garden and Nova Natural Toys have nice selections and good prices on the kite paper, and there are some nice tutorials on folding the stars at Arwen Art and Duo Fiberworks.  Kaia and I enjoyed this calm, concentration time as we folded our stars.



Word Games

Kaia has just started getting into reading.  She’s really not had much of an interest until I started introducing fun games and stories.  I found this game through Pink and Green Mama (the original game is at The Snail’s Trail).  It has everything my daughter loves… rainbows, paint chips, secret peak through windows, funny make up words….  So, I ran out to the local paint store to snatch up some chips.  I felt so devious!  Kaia loves it.  She shows it to everyone who comes over.


Sometimes, I’ll hold all of the cards and say “Pick a card, any card!” and she loves it.  It’s like a magic trick.


Leif really enjoys the game too!


Sorry it’s so blurry…

I love seeing these word cards spread out all over the floor!

What a fantastic gift this would make for a new reader!

Meteors, Comets, and Craters. Oh My!

Kaia and I took a little detour from our scheduled homeschooling (detours are fun!) to study a little about comets and meteors.  The Leonid Meteor Shower is at it’s peak Tuesday and Wed. (I wrote a little about it at Homemakers Who Work), and we plan to set up a cozy spot outside tonight (well, more like early, early tomorrow morning) to watch the show!

Talking about comets and meteors brought up that “what if…” question that seems to pass through every kids head when they are learning about this stuff… “What if a meteor gets through the earth’s atmosphere and hits us???!!!”

We found some great pictures of craters online…

Here is a nice picture of a crater made by a meteor that struck the earth.

And there are some great pictures of the moon’s craters on This site.

And we also did a little experiment to make our own craters….

Comet Kaia zoomed past our bowl filled with flour and cocoa powder (Planet Yum).


On her way past the planet, she dropped a little meteor rocks (marbles) into the planet’s atmosphere.  Down went the meteor rocks!


It landed with a nice puff of ‘planet dust’ (it actually puffed out all over the floor).  And craters were created.


Next time, I want to get a bunch of flour and put it outside so we can really throw rocks into the pile and make big craters and large puffs of earth!  (Am I showing my destructive side?)

You can’t have too much magic!

Kaia absolutely loves to color!  I think she spent most of her kindergarten year drawing rainbows!  So, when I’m planning out our day, I try to make sure that she has time for coloring, and it’s even better if some of her actual ‘work’ (math, language…) has drawing required!  Then she’s really happy.

Frequently, though, she just wants me to print out fairies or mermaids for her.  So, you know I was ecstatic when I found this site.  Phee McFaddell has page after page of amazing line drawings of magical creatures, puppets to create, stories, and other craft projects!!!

Her skin isn't yellow!  It's GOLDEN!!

Her skin isn't yellow! It's GOLDEN!!

I’ve found so many wonderful resources for homeschooling on the internet!  I have a huge file of bookmarked pages… Give me a little time and I’ll make a page for you all to access with all the resources.  (There.  I’ve said it… now I have to do it!!)

Stamp making

Tracing the image with a charcoal pencil

Tracing the image with a charcoal pencil

Pressing the image onto the rubber block

Pressing the image onto the rubber block

retracing the image with ink, in case the charcoal smears

retracing the image with ink, in case the charcoal smears

Cutting out the image

Cutting out the image

The final stamp.... isn't she cute!

The final stamp.... isn't she cute!

Some of our other creations

Some of our other creations

I have great memories of my elementary school art class.  The room was dark and and crowded, but our teacher always had the greatest projects for us.  One of my favorites was linoleum print making.  You trace a picture onto a linoleum block, carve it out, roll paint onto it and press it onto paper, or a t-shirt…. I loved the detailed process and the “cooooool” moment when you get to see the final picture.

Stamp making is almost the exact same process.  I’d not done it in a long, long time, but I was inspired when I visited winemakerssister’s fantastic  etsy store and fell in love with her stamps!!  I totally stole some of her ideas!  But, I’m going to have to go back for this mug!  (Hahah!!  All you knitters out there get it!)

Kaia loves stamp making, too.  Today she carved me an adorable flower!

I see some stamped holiday cards in the near future!!

Action shots

We’ve been having so much fun homeschooling.  Yes, there are those moments where I want to shut her in her room and turn the music up real loud to drown out the drama.  But, I guarantee we would be having those moments if she were in school full time too.  In just a few weeks, Kaia and I seem to have changed our relationship somehow.  She is being more respectful, she is helping out around the house… I’m sure it is partly due to the fact that I am spending more time with her, focused on her.

Kaia wanted to have a ritual to start our school day.  She likes the idea of lighting a candle, singing a song, and ringing a bell.  So, Kaia gathered some fall leaves, got out the mod podge and made an adorable fall candle (a la 5 orange potatoes).  She wants to make a new candle for each season.  I like that idea!


It’s not the best picture, but the leaves on the bottom are red maple and there is golden ginkgo on the top!  We melted our own wax and colored it red, another reason why it’s not so easy to see the leaves.

And what could be better than working in pile of blankets, in pajamas, at 9 pm at night, because you want to!?!


Leif likes to join us and tends to keep himself occupied very well.  One of his favorite things to do is to hold onto a cloth and move it up and down in front of his face as fast as he can.  He wears himself out completely and makes himself laugh!  What could be better?



Here’s the basic plan…

We’ve been talking for the past few evenings and Toby and I have decided that we are definitely going to homeschool Kaia next Jan.  I did a general outline of topics today and it got Toby really excited too.

From Jan. through May (at least) I would like to touch on (formally or informally):
-Continue with Singapore math (along with manipulatives and other math games/logic puzzles)
-Continue with Sonlight Language Arts and Explode the Code, adding in as many word games and reading as possible (she’s not a fan of copy work and some of the readers that go along with this curriculum.  We may add in some Starfall since she likes playing the games.) And Handwriting Without Tears.
-All the holidays that fall in those months and discuss the religions and customs of those holidays (This also includes days like Martin Luther King day, president’s day, etc…)
-Science – the scientific method and observation, how magnets work, cardinal points, states of matter, reading (and creating) a map, weather, seasons, air/water, fire/temperature, plant and animal habitat, waves/currents/ocean habitats (this will necessitate a trip to the Charleston aquarium!), sun/moon/stars/planets (and a field trip to the Morehead Planitarium), basic machines (pulleys, levers)
-History-  Pre-history (the formation of the earth, first life, first mammals, first peoples, dinosaurs (and the creatures before the dinos)… maybe this will necessitate a trip to the Smithsonian Museums???!!)  We may get the “cartoon History of the Universe” series to read through with this, too.
-Arts and music – I’ve asked Kaia to chose an instrument that she would like to learn and she may start lessons.  We will also incorporate art into daily activities since she loves to color and draw.
-Foreign language- I plan to sign her up for a Mandarin Chinese class that is supposed to be happening in Jan.  (She LOVES anything China)
-I hope she will participate in all my garden planning and planting along with learning how plants grow, what they need to survive, and the plant parts
-Then there’s always cooking, knitting, daily/weekly chores, strawberry picking, play dates, park days…..

And as far as socializing, there are home school co-ops, home school sports leagues, library groups, LEGO clubs, Odyssey of the Mind Clubs, and so much more for her to interact with other peers.

I’m sure things will change as we flow through this, but at least we have a place to start and we’ll see how things go from there.  I’m excited!!

Homeschooling – planning out your days

Right now, Kaia is in school 3 days a week and home schooled two.  Though there are definitely those hair pulling times, we are really enjoying ourselves and looking forward to all the things we can do together.  So, we are actually thinking of home schooling full time.  It’s something we had thought about doing when she was first born, but house building, jobs, life happened and she ended up in a private school.  But, this past summer, when she was out of school, our days flowed so nicely!  We enjoyed each others company, doing projects together, reading together…

Right now, I’m kind of following the private schools curriculum and we cover similar things on her ‘home’ days.  I’m curious, though, how you home schoolers out there plan out your curriculum?  Do you take some time before the ‘school year’ starts and plan what you will go over for the year??  Do you sit down on Sunday night and plan out the week ahead?  I like to plan things, even if the week doesn’t go as planned, so I’d love to hear how you make your lesson plans for your kids?  If you write about it on your blog, please let me know!!

The 5 kingdoms

Kaia has been studying the 5 kingdoms of life at school for the past 4 weeks.  So, we thought we’d take a trip out to the Nature Center to see what in the Animal, Plant, and Fungus kingdoms we could find.








Poor little papa peacock is moulting and has no tail feathers.  But you see behind mama Peahen’s legs there is a little baby???  Once that little one gets big enough, he/she will be coming to live with us!!!!  Do any of you own peafowl??  If so, do they live with chickens?

When we got home, we found this:


We aren’t really sure what kingdom it belongs to… It seemed to enjoy eating non-living things.


But, it sure was friendly.


And it enjoyed hanging around with us


Oh, and the prize for naming Louise has arrived safely at it’s new home.  Isn’t it cute?


rhythm to our day

I’m a creature of habit.  I like things organized.  I like routine.  Yet, my life has little of this.   So, with Kaia starting the first grade and homeschooling part time, I thought it might be nice to create a basic rhythm that we can count on.  Even if things get adjusted here and there, we know we can jump back in the next day.

In the morning, I tend to get up before the rest of the crew.  This is a time that I like to read through my emails, catch up on blogs, and get breakfast started.  Once the kids get up, we have our breakfast and take care of feeding the animals (cats, dog, and chickens).  If Kaia is able to get up a little earlier, I’d love to make time before breakfast to read to her.  If she has the choice, though, she is a late sleeper.

After breakfast, we will take a few hours for our more ‘formal’ schooling….. working on math (she has a math book from school that we work with), language arts (I’m looking into curriculum that might stimulate her to try reading on her own more, we’ll see… I want it to be self-directed as much as possible.  She does much better with learning if I’m not too encouraging.  She likes it to be her own decision.)

We’ll make lunch, do some clean up in the kitchen and then clean one room in the house (we rotate like this so that cleaning never seems to overwhelming.  The whole house is cleaned by weeks end).

After clean up, if we have errands to run, we will head out.  If not, we may do some baking, gardening, laundry, play with friends.  This time is left more open and flexible.

Then it’s time to make dinner, harvest the eggs, feed the animals again.

After dinner, the kids may have a bath.  We try to read everynight, but sometimes the days get away from us and it’s time to get the kids to bed.

Kaia, Toby, and I also all take Tae Kwon Do.  So, often one of us is out doing that in the evenings.

I think this will be nice for all of us to have a basic schedule that we can rely on.  When Kaia is in her formal school (3 days a week) I will try to stick to the schedule and get some of my own schooling or work done in the mornings, and errands in the afternoons.

The weekends are kind of crazy.  We have had so many projects to finish up since we started building on our land.  Every weekend seems to be filled up well in advance.  Toby and I have made a pact not to start any new projects (after the new chicken coop is built) so that we can try to relax on the weekends this winter!  That would be very nice.

I would love to hear what your homeschool rhythms are like.  How do you get it all accomplished each day?

Kaia Camp Days 4 & 5

We started Kaia Camp Day 4 off with a little exercise!  We headed to the Dojang when Kaia, Toby, and I take Tae Kwon Do and did a little hooping.  It’s the first time I’ve hooped since last November when I was 32 weeks pregnant.  I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to dance/hoop like I use to, but I fell right back into it and it felt great!

We went from there straight to the local library where the Balloon Fairy was teacing everyone how to make balloon hats.

Then it was back home to make some flower fireworks.  We got the idea from 5OrangePotatoes (I love that blog:-)  We went outside and picked all the white flowers we could find and put them in wine glasses of water with food coloring in them.  We had Queen Anne’s Lace, Yarrow, Daisies, and Onion scapes.  It took a full day before we really noticed any changes, but they came out pretty.  The darker colors worked much better for us. (oh, and that’s a pink cosmos in there!  Not a white daisy turned pink:-)





After a little lunch break, we made an “I Spy” jar (This idea from The Magic Onions, another blog I love).  Kaia gathered lots of little trinkets and put them in a glass jar.  Then she filled the jar with sand, and shook it up. (rice probably would have worked better, ’cause the sand ended up making the jar a little cloudy).  I would say “I spy, with my little eye, something with a hole in it” and she would have to turn it around until she found the shell with a hole in it.  It’s a fun game… maybe we’ll make another one with rice to keep in the car for road trips.


Leif enjoyed the jar too, but he was really only interested in the effects of cold on the gums 🙂


For the last day of Kaia Camp, we took it pretty easy.  We started out with a little Tae Kwon Do.  (Kaia took the adult class with me and did great!!  I’m so proud of her… she’s really doing amazing!  And the whole belt system works great for her because it gives her something to strive for and she feels like she’s really accomplished something when she gets a new belt)

After that, we had a lot of reading time, knitting time, garden time, and just relaxing fun!

By the end of the week, everyone was tuckered out!


Story Dice

I saw the fantastic idea of story dice here and had to make some! So, I ordered a bunch of blocks and Kaia and I spent a few days last week painting. She made a winter set and a spring set, and I made 4 sets of 4 blocks (extra sets for Kaia’s school K-2 class rooms). It was so fun thinking of things to put on them. We did a boy, girl, turtle, dragon, rabbit, house, beach ball, candle, egg, tree, car, bike, book, cupcake, flowers, boat, hat, balloons, ring, cup of tea, rain, butterfly, and a question mark (to make up your own). You can play many different ways, but the way we use them is to throw them out and create a story with the pictures that are on top. One person will start with a picture and then the next person adds on to the story with the next picture. It’s a really fun way to encourage creativity and imagination.


Getting an allowance

Now that Kaia is 5, we’ve decided to start giving her an allowance to teach her about money. We tossed around lots of ideas of how it would work, but then we ran across this article. So, Kaia now has 4 jars and each week gets $2 to put into each jar. “Spending” is for immediate satisfaction… to spend on what she wants. “Savings” is when she wants to save up for big purchases (she can take her ‘spending’ money and put into her ‘savings’ jar if she doesn’t want to spend it that week. “Donation” is for giving to her favorite causes… maybe 2-4 times a year we will empty this jar out and give the money to whatever cause she wants. “Investment” is a more long term thing so she can learn about putting money away for the future when she gets older.
She already had a piggy bank where she would put money that she got for gifts and stuff. So she decided to break the piggy bank and buy a doll with that money. The rest of the money will be split between the jars.
Here is her new doll (it’s a porcelain doll she got for $10 from our local fabric store!) and her money jars.

Day of Adventure

Kaia and I and two of our friends met a bunch of other homeschoolers on a goat farm tour today.  We drove ~1 hour to the farm and planned on having the afternoon to play.  But, soon after getting there I started feeling light headed and had to sit down.  I broke into a cold sweat and the world around me started getting dark.  Some of the mamas, and the farm owner helped me inside to the couch and got me some cold rags.  I laid down, drank water, munched on some crackers and fruit and started feeling better.  So, after ~15 minutes I got back up to join the grew.  I hadn’t walked too far when it started again.  I was having trouble walking in a straight line.  So I went to lay down in their small shop store and the farm owner (who also happens to be an ICU nurse) took my BP (which was fine) and offered me some gateraide and ice cold cloths.  I felt totally fine when I was laying down… I’m not pregnant, I don’t have a virus, it wasn’t heat exhaustion, it wasn’t my blood sugar… the only thing I can think is that it was vertigo.  I never had any issues with vertigo until a month ago when I was at my Maya Abdominal Massage class and I started getting dizzy when I laid down.  Supposedly, there are particles moving around in my inner ear and they cause dizziness with a change of posture.  So, I wonder if with all the hills we went over and all the turning my head and neck to deal with the girls in the back of the car that maybe some of the particles moved and made the vertigo worse.  Either way, the girls had a blast milking the mama goats and feeding the babies, and my friend was nice enough to take pictures for me.  On the way back we ran into a tremendous rain/hail storm that was amazing.

here are some pics:




K’s experiment

We did a little experiment today and styrofoam “peanuts” vs. starch “peanuts”. I have to say, I was very proud of myself for thinking this one up! We put them both in water and watched the starch ones dissolve. Then K and I talked about how the starch ones were easier for mama earth to turn back into dirt and that the styrofoam ones took a really long time and kind-of give mama earth a belly ache. It was fun! It must have been peanut starch, ’cause they smelled like peanut butter when they dissolved

mama’s play time!

Well, I just dropped K off at her first day of play school! I am still struggling with the “I can do everything and still get a nice dinner on the table” mama attitude, and have realized that in order to keep (or get back) my sanity, I need a break! So, I found this great place just down the street (literally 5 houses down) that has a Tuesday/Thursday play school from 8-11:30!! So, K gets some time to play with friends and learn more than just my 5 song repertoire, and I get time to work on Full Circle Herbs. I am still planning on home schooling, but I think this will be very good for both of us.

So, I am hoping to use some of this free time to start doing an “Herb of the Week” write up. I figure it will be a good way to refresh myself! I will post it on this site.

What else… Oh, we have a contract on the house in Chapel Hill!!! We never did have to put it on the market! And we should close by the end of this month!! So, we went to Chapel Hill again this weekend and did all the final touch ups and trash removal. We were also able to pack up the bees and bring them to Asheville. (At night, when they have gone into their hives, you put a piece of screen over the entrance and strap the hives together so nothing moves. Then put them on the truck and away you go) They are hanging out on my brother-in-laws property where he has a little more space than we do. I hope to get over there at least every other week to do a mite count. That is about all I do now for the bees. Toby does everything else. I am kind of freaked out about getting stung again. After the last sting (which I think was a yellow jacket, but still), my leg swelled up so big you could bounce a dime off of it. And it took a few weeks to resolve. SO, I figure, I should probably stay away from the bees just in case the stings keep getting worse.

K’s first herb books

I just got these fantastic herb books for K! I know she is barely 2, but I couldn’t pass them by. I’m hoping to home school, so these can be used as part of her science education. They are “A Kid’s Herb Book” by Lesley Tierra and “Walking the World in Wonder – A Children’s Herbal” by Ellen Evert Hopman, and they are both fabulous! Lesley Tierra and her husband are both amazing herbalists and writters. This book has great projects, songs, crafts, education, recipes, and more about herbs!! I can’t wait to use it! The other book by Hopman is more simple, but a great suppliment to the first since it has big pictures and also a short description of the Wheel of the Year and corrisponding festivals.

Yay me!!