Week In The Life (Diggin’ Up Bones)

September 21, 2014

Well besides a few bumps , all on my part, our first week back was a productive one. We are slowly getting back into our routine.

Our garden is winding it’s way down. I am keeping my fingers crossed temperatures don’t hit below freezing before our sweet potatoes are ready to harvest. They are doing really good but are not yet ready. So next year plant all potatoes at the same time. Next weekend we plan to pull the rest of our tomatoes and get our soil ready for planting garlic.

Not a whole lot coming out of the kitchen this week. No tomatoes for sauce, however walks in the park brought in another batch of apples and the first apple crisp of the season was made (thanks to cooler temps).

From the study: I am incorporating a few new ideas into our days focusing on note taking techniques, starting with a timeline of Earth’s evolution.

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(Little Sis)

I am hoping Sky will break off from here working more on essay writing.

Papa also added a dry erase board to our refrigerator where I am writing the girls assignments for each day encouraging more independent work.

Language Arts: Little Sis read Magic Tree House Dinosaurs Before Dark and her word of the week was soar. Sky worked on newspaper jargon.

Mathematics: Miss Sky reviewed long multiplication with worksheets from Math Is Fun. Little Sis reviewed her times tables playing the multiplication tree game on-line.

Science: Besides getting our timeline caught up with everything we learned about our universe while on break,

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we also talked about the geological column working our way up to the Mesozoic Era. I read the Magic Tree House Dinosaurs Research Guide, we watched Bill Nye’s episodes on Dinosaurs and Fossils, had discussions about paleontologists, extinction, and the fossil fuels coal and crude oil.

We watched the BBC movie Creation about Charles Darwin as a family and watched the Crash Course videos on Natural Selection and Evolution. Being the girls were already familiar with these topics watching the movie first worked for us. The movie is more about Darwin’s life and his struggles with writing The Origin of Species. If your children don’t already understand evolution I would watch the Crash Course videos first then the movie.

Lots of discussion from this movie, especially how difficult it was to write about science during the Victorian Period.

We also watched the movie Jurassic Park as well as the Nostalgia Critic’s Jurassic Park movie reviews (warning he does use profanity and may not be suitable for all families).

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P.E. Continuing our walks around the block.

Peace for the journey.

 

 

Week(s) In The Life (Look, A Cave Troll)

September 13, 2014

Falling behind again. It is however beginning to become clear to me that it must be a seasonal thing. The weather changes and I get busier. In this case Autumn is near with it’s cooler temps and outdoor walking becomes much more appealing. So instead of marching in place “Walking Away the Pounds” to a video, walks around the block and at the park have become a regular part of P.E.

From the garden: Our tomato crop started booming with the brief warm up we’ve had these past couple of weeks including more buds and growth. This week however cooler temperatures have slowed growth down and I don’t think we will get much more. I can’t complain though we yielded a pretty good crop this year even with all the pests.

Our radishes are about ready for harvest. We are planting more for sure next year as we enlarge our garden.

From the kitchen: Two more jars of tomato sauce. With the cooler temps and apples coming into season the oven is ready to be fired up for apple crisp. For now I have been enjoying snacking on sliced apples with peanut butter dip.

I mentioned previously how I have pretty much kicked the sugar habit. I still use real maple syrup and coconut sugar as my sweeteners and of course the sugar that’s naturally already in foods but cane sugars and corn syrup are a thing of my past. I can honestly say the less sweets I eat the less I crave sweetened goods like cookies. Then again I am eating lots more fresh fruits and vegetables than before. I don’t feel deprived at all and my palate has majorly changed since making the switch. I tried eating canned fruit and the texture was disgusting. I am really glad for all the berries I froze to get me through the winter.

From the study: Which brings me to the movie Fed Up.

http://fedupmovie.com/#/page/home

We watched it as a family and had lots of discussion. Both girls mentioned how glad they were not having to eat school lunches. Little Sis can’t even eat store bought meat. I am thankful to live in a farming state with fresh foods readily available at our fingertips.

I do however feel I can’t move on before mentioning we *do not* shame the girls for foods they like to eat in any way. I do not stand over them policing or cringe if they want to eat a Twinkie. Both girls are allowed to add to the grocery cart whatever foods they want. I want them to have a healthy relationship with food and come to their own conclusions. And you know what? They do.

We also finished How the Universe Works with the episode Supernovas.

Papa replaced our wooden fence over the summer and after being inspired by our park walks decided to repurpose our old fencing into simple birdhouses that even the girls could build.

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Let’s see, we had the usual games and read Pippi in the South Seas.

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I am glad we read the Pippi series as I had never read it before. I can see why it is recommended on most “girl power” lists, especially for the time period it was written. I will even say Pippi’s personality does grow on you after awhile. The girls however thought it was just “okay”. I think maybe because they have been exposed to lots of “girl power” stories already. Besides it’s really hard to beat Ramona in Little Sis’s opinion. So far the Ramona series, Coraline, and the Phantom of the Opera remain the girls favorite read alouds this year.

Next week we start back to our more regular schedule. The break did us all good. After learning about how the universe works and our galaxy, the milky way, we will be moving on to how Earth itself is still a living evolving planet starting with a little geology. Perfect timing to do a little cave exploring with a road trip to Marengo Caves in Marengo Indiana. Being from Missouri I have been in several caves growing up but this was Papa and the girls first time.

The cave was discovered by a sister and brother exploring a small sink hole in 1883.

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(The original cave entrance is right under the tree on the left.)

What they found inside brought many visitors just a week later. We learned about the caves sodastraw formations, helicites, and totem pole stalagmites.

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We even caught a glimpse of life.

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(A salamander)

The cave has a music hall where they held concerts and plays and even a pulpit rock where they held church.

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The cave stays 52 degrees all year long making it perfect to visit anytime of year. I definitely see more cave exploring in our future.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Insectmania)

September 1, 2014

Welcome September! And Happy Labor Day.

I think I am beginning to except the reality that Autumn is near. So that means walks in the park and apple cider slushies’ .

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2.7 mile walks to be exact. I love watching the leaves turn colors, not to mention all the wildlife we spot along the way.

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In my opinion nothing welcomes fall better than having fresh apples just waiting to be devoured, and devoured they quickly become.

From the garden: I tried planting carrots in containers this year. This is what I got.

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Not bad for my first try. Next year I plan to do things a bit differently when planting the seeds. We shall see.

I spotted the first praying mantis so far this year, finally.

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Fingers crossed there are more hiding about. Our garden spider continues to do well,

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(It is tucked nicely away in the little tunnel) and why not there are plenty of crickets to make a meal of. Oh and there is more (besides the stink bugs). While picking tomatoes I found what has been nibbling my Roma tomatoes, a huge grasshopper.

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It has been relocated far away from our garden. Speaking of tomatoes,

From the kitchen: 3 more jars of tomato sauce and 8 jars of salsa.

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(Another one of my favorite sounds is hearing the lid seal on a Ball Jar) The only veggie I needed to purchase was the bell peppers as our plants didn’t do that great this year (I think due to a rabbit family living nearby). Though now they are beginning to take off with the warm front we’ve had. Who knows maybe a late harvest.

From the study: Little Sis requested a trip to the library where she discovered a new series she loves. Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski. “It is like a girl version of Kingdom Hearts.” She is over halfway done.

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Let’s see, Walk Away the Pounds, games, starting Pippi Goes On Board. Finishing the Back to the Future series, continuing Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Sky requesting What Would Jesus Buy.

 I always mention that this is the movie that changed my life. Both girls, while watching it themselves for the first time, seeing Reverend Billy take the screen both looked over at me and replied “Really mom?”. Yes, really. After finishing the movie Sky understood.

It was after viewing this movie that Papa and I cut up our credit cards and started our journey toward a more simple life. It was this movie that started us supporting local business and farmers. It was this movie that brought my focus back to traditions and making memories instead of constantly consuming. It was my “awaking”, when I began to finally think for myself. 

I have learned A LOT since then, that alone could be an entire post itself. :) The short version, the girls have learned to be better consumers by Papa and my examples. I didn’t need to force or shame them for what they chose to spend *their* money on. They came to these conclusions themselves. 

Both girls have much more an understanding of how the world works than I did at their age. I truly do believe because they have not been separated from “the real world” to be trained on how to live in the real world. The longer I homeschool the more clear it becomes.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Universal Truths)

August 25, 2014

Well summer has finally arrived. The air conditioner is back on after a long hiatus. Days of full sun has our tomatoes ripening in mass quantities, like all of them at once. SO this means lots of tomato sauce being made. Which means …..

From the kitchen: first batch of pizza sauce.

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Which means family game night and grilled pizza.

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Which means our tomato crop is much better than I originally expected.  

From the garden: I have noticed more stink bugs in our garden this year. They haven’t really hurt much of our crop but there is one plant that seems affected. I have been picking the Roma’s right before turning red to see if it helps. If not we will at least save the seeds. They are both good and bad to have as they do eat other garden pests.

We do have a spider that has moved into our bug motel. Papa caught a fly and threw it into the spider’s web. Speedy quick how fast it was on that fly. I am keeping fingers crossed that it might help with our stink bug population.

I have yet to see any praying mantis or ladybugs this year. No ladybugs is really weird for us, we always have ladybugs. The crickets however are crazy in numbers again. When walking outside at night it seems like they are attacking you. Everywhere they are!

From the study: I mentioned family game night.

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Yep, the plastic Disney Pictionary hands were dusted off for another fun filled evening. How many times of “keep your plastic  hands to yourself” is too much? Thank goodness we adults were able to set better examples. :)

Reading, Pippi Longstocking and “Why would having a dad king of cannibals be exciting again?”

Watching, Season 2 of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Disney’s The Princess and the Frog (Which we really like. The 20’s are becoming one of my favorite time periods in history and the animation has an art deco feel at times.), Princess Mononoke again, and the documentaries Did God Create The Universe and Alien Galaxies and Alien Moons from How the Universe Works. Possible life on moons, truly fascinating.

The girls have been drawing more with their 3DS graffiti than with paper right now,

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(Sky)

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(Little Sis)

at least what they are willing to share, creating characters and storylines.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Getting Back In Time)

August 18, 2014

Did I mention I am glad we are on a break? From a more academic schedule that is not from life. No, life sure has a way of jolting you back to reality doesn’t it?

For my readers not in the states, though I’m sure you are up to date, lots of sadness in our news of late. I have written before how I am not a drama seeker. I try my best to stay away from headlines and media. I carry bad news deep into my core where it tends to stay longer than I would like. Empathy can be both a gift and a curse.

It can be hard sometimes finding where to draw the line of discretion. How involved to be with current events. I do believe we all have responsibility to stay informed with civics and since Papa and I have added the responsibility of educating our children it’s even more important that we are. Most of the time Papa is my “muffler” but he too is only human. And sometimes I think sadness is a good thing, it brings change. I truly feel for those facing sadness right now and offer hopefulness to find inner peace.

From the garden:

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Our yellow potatoes were ready. I would say another 10 pounds worth. We have decided to add more space to our garden next year for a larger potato harvest.

The turnips we planted, for a fall harvest, are popping up and tomatoes are more in abundance.

From the kitchen: So that means more tomato sauce, 6 more jars to be exact. We also froze 20 more ears of corn. Staying with preparations for winter, didn’t winter just end? Where has time gone?, we drove out to the farm to pick up our supply of chickens.

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From the study: We watched the episode of Extreme Planets from How the Universe Works. We also watched the Disney movie Bolt and Back to the Future. “1.21 gigawatts !? “

We started Ramona and Her Father, are waiting for season 2 of Yu-gi-oh to arrive, played games,

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and Walk(ed) Away more Pounds.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Not So Quiet On The Homefront)

August 11, 2014

Enjoying our break we are. Busy we have been. So much goodness coming from the garden and kitchen.

From the garden: Our onions are ready for curing.

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The first batch of Roma’s were ready to make into sauce, which we use throughout the year for chili, pizza sauce, and sloppy joe (that I eat over a baked potato or sweet potato).

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This year I want to keep track of how many jars I need to get us through the winter. I think our supply will be less this year due to the cooler summer we had. I jar salsa, with our tomatoes, to replace tomatoes for tacos during winter too. Papa will not eat tomatoes unless they are homegrown.

From the kitchen: We froze our first batch of corn.

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We go through about 50 ears of corn during the winter and spring.

I tried a new recipe over the weekend that was a HUGE success.

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Gluten-free zucchini bread pancakes. They are SO good I am making up batches to freeze for when I crave something sweet. I have reduced my sugar intake drastically. They are good to eat plain, to me they taste just like zucchini bread. I can’t wait to try my hand at pumpkin and gingerbread pancakes.

Okay for the recipe, I used my most favorite gluten-free pancake recipe, which I use maple syrup in place of the honey,

http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/healthy-oatmeal-gluten-free-pancakes/

and added 2 cups grated zucchini, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 cup chopped walnuts. Delish!

From the study: Besides our usual game play,

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Science: We watched the movie Life of Pi again. This time from the point of views of “science” and “religion”. We had many discussions about evidence verses faith.

We watched the Discovery Atlas Hawaii episode and How the Universe Works episodes Extreme Stars, Black Holes, The Big Bang, and Alien Galaxies.

American History: We watched the movie Summer Story, which is another installment of stories from Jean Shepherd who wrote The Christmas Story. It was fun to see life in the 40s for the average Hoosier family.

We finished Ramona the Brave and started Ramona the Pest. I accidently grabbed the wrong Ramona book reading Brave before Pest but being we have read this series more than once it really doesn’t matter which order we read them. They are a favorite around these parts.

P.E. Sticking with Walk Away The Pounds, I myself am ready for the 3 mile. Sky is too but I won’t push her she can quit after 2 miles if she wants.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Our Mutual Core)

August 1, 2014

Well the children in our school district are back in school. The neighborhood has been quiet. We live within walking distance of all the schools in our district and it is bitter sweet seeing all the children walking back and forth from school. In the morning their steps are slow and quiet. On the way home their pace has quickened. I still don’t miss it and I know the girls don’t.

I use to ask them before each new year started if they wanted to go to school but now I know they would tell me if they did. It is weird though to think how we just started our break and that the school children’s just ended. How our days have become more relaxed enjoying what the season has left to offer. Like high 70s for the temperature.

From the garden: Our Roma tomatoes are just now beginning to turn red. I’m glad too because this year’s crop has been the best yet (jars are all ready to go as I just finished our last jar for pizza sauce). Our grape tomatoes are plentiful now and we have been enjoying snacking on handfuls in between salads. My new favorite snack, grape tomatoes and sliced mozzarella cheese. :)

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Our red potato crop was ready (about 10 pounds worth). We our still waiting on the yellow and I tried my hand at sweet potatoes this year which are coming along nicely. Time to till where we had the garlic (that is now cured and ready to eat, putting back a head to plant this fall again) and red potatoes to plant spinach, turnips, and radishes.

From the kitchen: I have been freezing berries for smoothies during winter.

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I find it works best to freeze them individually first, slicing the strawberries in half, before storing them in freezer bags. I love adding them to my favorite gluten free oat flour pancakes too (made now with Kefir instead of Silk). Nothing like a taste of summer during winter.

From the home front: Science, science, art, reading, games, science.

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Starting with BBC’s Earth: The Biography where we learned about volcanoes, the atmosphere, ice, oceans, and rare earth. We also watched Bill Nye’s episode on evolution. To shake things up I brought in Bjork’s Biophilia album and we watched her videos from the album on YouTube.

Let’s see, Ramona is in circulation again, Tomodachi Life is still very popular, and we watched The Lego Movie. We are finishing up season 1 of Yu-Gi-Oh and the girls introduced me to Death Note which I am loving so we watched the live action movie. Oh and continuing Walk Away the Pounds.

The girls have been drawing away.

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(Little Sis)

I have been debating on whether to add Sky’s work as it is getting more mature but she is working hard too.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Every Second Counts)

July 22, 2014

Alright, we are finally ready for our summer transition! It seemed like we would never get here. What a productive year we’ve had so far and the plans are ready for lots more come fall.

Using what is left of summer as a check point I am really happy with our progress thus far. I do see some trouble areas that needs a bit more time however overall both girls have worked really hard and deserve to enjoy their free time to explore more of their own interests.

Beginning with the girls discovering a new 3DS game they wanted. The girls pretty much do their own shopping and pin whatever it is they want to my Post It Pinterest board. When we are able to afford it they choose what is of more importance and both girls were ready for a new game. Tomodachi Life was that game. It has been the game of choice for days and both girls rate it right up there with Scribblenauts (and that is saying a lot).

Mathematics: Though we are always playing a quick game here or there through out the year, summer opens up more time to pull out the longer ones, play more than one hand together as a family, and being that I am always scouting for new games now would be a great time to introduce one or two. :)

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Speaking of time we finished our measurement of time lessons with seconds.

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Language Arts: The girls copied the poem in their notebooks. Little Sis finished High Tide In Hawaii and I read the Research Guide Tsunamis and Other Natural Disasters.

Science: We watched Bill Nye’s episodes on Earthquakes and Storms.

Social Studies, American History: We had conversations on when Hawaii became a state, its capital, along with the history and culture.

We finished watching the television series That 70s Show together as a family. Each year we pick a television series to watch and discuss as a family.

We do not shelter information from our children. We do not force feed information down their throats either. Both girls can choose not to watch if an episode gets too intense or uncomfortable (this goes for anything we may watch). We have had many, many, many open conversations from doing this and all of our girls can (and have) talk to us about *anything*.

Yes I am the parent that watched the movie Thirteen with our then 13 (now 24) year old daughter and *not* because I think I am a cool mom but because Papa and I want our children to get correct information from us not their peers. (Reminder to self, time to watch that with Sky.)

The previous year we finished Roseanne taking us through the 90s, now we have started Family Ties taking us through those 80s.

P.E. Walking Away The Pounds

The Arts: We watched Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (loved it!) and Ponyo once again. We also watched part one of The Nostalgia Critic’s Disneycember.

From the Kitchen:
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Grilled tortilla pizza. I use gluten free tortillas but you could use pita bread too. Let cook on low about 8-10 minutes depending on how crunchy you like your crust.

From the garden:
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Sunflowers, fried green tomatoes, grape tomatoes added to our summer “salad bar”, and breakfast burritos are in rotation. I eat the red pepper, jalapeno egg mixture with hot sauce and a bit of shredded cheese without tortillas.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (The Sound Of Musicals)

July 11, 2014

Such beautiful weather we’ve been having here in the Hoosier state! It made for a perfect 4th of July holiday weekend.

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Which leads me right into,

Social Studies, American History (yep changing the line-up a bit which is destined to mess me up entirely): We watched the Crash Course July 4 special video.

Language Arts: Sky read aloud Junie B. Aloha-ha-ha and Little Sis started Magic Tree House High Tides In Hawaii.

Independent reading, Little Sis started the Kitchen Princess manga again

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(she has already finished that book) and Sky still has her nose in fan fiction which I knew would eventually lead her into writing her own stories. “Mom I could right better stories than some of these.” I believe she can too. Little Sis has been writing her own stories as well.

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Mathematics: Copying the measurement of minutes poem,

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more review and games.

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(Little Sis is the Sorry Champ.)

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Science: Besides spotting the first hummingbird of the season in our backyard, we watched Bill Nye’s episodes on the Earth’s crust and volcanoes. We also made a simple bug motel in our garden.

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Now to attract those Ladybugs.

The Arts: We watched Disney’s musical of Annie and Mary Poppins.

P.E. Besides Walk Away the Pounds we received our winter’s supply of firewood.

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Little Sis helped Papa load the wheelbarrow while Sky and I stacked.

From the garden: Our garlic is ready to be cured.

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This is half our crop so far.

Peace for the journey.

Week(s) In The Life ( Zoo-rific)

July 4, 2014

Well a few months ago, because spring had been so dry here, I predicted drought. Boy I couldn’t have been more wrong. I think I needed to water our garden twice so far this summer. It has rained at least once a week. The temps have been beautiful! Todays high mid 70s. It has put a bit of a damper on the girls swimming though. However they did manage to sneak in a few days.

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So not being on my blog for awhile I noticed my pictures added from Flickr only show the links for some reason. I tried to fix some but honestly I really just don’t have the time to fix them all. I don’t really know why now all of a sudden it might have changed.

Anyways we had a lovely little break. I decided that we will finish up a few things these next few weeks and then take the rest of summer off, still keeping a bit of routine with reading aloud and math review. I mean we started in January and almost have our 180 days in already. Honestly it works out great this way, this is when we are the most busy outdoors and being that we never stop learning anyway. Why not?

I think after all these years of homeschooling we have finally found *our* groove. Homeschooling is so different in many ways. It’s not just school at home, been there tried that even if it was Waldorf school. It’s not unschooling, or not schooling because you are in some ways “schooling”. No matter how pretty you package it up or try to sell it, this is the 21st century and school is part of society. Being at home there are *many* different ways to learn a subject. My youngest learned to read while playing Animal Jam on the computer, I didn’t need worksheets. However they still need to learn to read or do long division even if it’s just to get a GED.

It’s a whole different concept of combining life skills with learning. I know why schools came to be, and for many they are the only way some children stand a chance of receiving an education and some children truly want to go to school, but that ship has sailed (grow and evolve, all things must pass). It’s saying HEY wait a minute, we don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. We have a choice.

Don’t get me wrong homeschooling is hard. Sky is going to be in 8th grade, 8th grade! It has taken me all this time to find what works best for us. Some days I think what the hell am I doing? Who do I think I am? But they are learning, they are learning to survive in *their* century. They are learning WAY more than I ever did at their age and that keeps me pushing on. I see a new generation of children in our future. A generation of free thinkers and life changers and that makes it worth it to me. :)

So what have we been doing besides swimming, uhem ?

Language Arts: Reading Coraline, and listening to the Snow Queen.

http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/198/the-snow-queen/

We wanted to see how much of Frozen was from the tale being I had never read it myself and honestly it wasn’t one of my favorites. The girls rate it a 5 out of 10. It had a lot of possibilities but they fell flat in my opinion. Maybe I’m being a bit too hard or we are just spoiled by Lewis and Baum. Let’s just say we like the movie Frozen better.

We loved Coraline and watched the movie afterwards. We all agreed there were parts we liked from the book better but also we thought parts from the movie worked better too. We gave the book and movie 9 out of 10.

Sky created her character’s (for the story she is creating) 6 page “wiki” while on break.

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Mathematics: Moving on measuring time with hours,

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and games.

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More review for Sky and The Tables for Little Sis.

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Science: Bill Nye science guy episode on the moon and the zoo.

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P.E. Walking Away The Pounds.

The Arts: Besides the movie Coraline we watched Disney’s musical The Newsies, Shirley Temple’s Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm (which had nothing to do with the book other than the character Rebecca living somewhat on a farm), Saving Mr. Banks (This movie gets a 10 from me but Mary Poppins is my 6th most favorite movie and 3rd favorite musical. Yes I am all about lists and ratings. :) ), and Thor 2. Also the girls and I have been getting in with the series Yu-Gi-Oh which Miss Sky discovered.

From the Garden: We are almost ready for a batch of fried green tomatoes, my most favorite food. Everything is doing great, our soil is beautiful and lots of lighting bugs and bees have been surrounding me while pulling weeds. No praying mantis or ladybugs yet. I am wondering if it is because of the rain. We are hoping to build a ladybug home in our garden soon.

From the kitchen: My most favorite new breakfast, green eggs and ham omelet.

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Spinach, feta cheese and ham.

I learned some good news and bad news about my food sensitivities. One I can have lactose free dairy products which includes a few hard cheeses but there are a lot more foods added to my can’t eat list like legumes, soy, onions, garlic, apples, honey, high fructose corn syrup, and broccoli along with the dairy and gluten. It’s called the low FODMAP diet. I ate soy to replace the dairy and we ate lots of beans but my body just can’t digest them causing me all kinds of pain. I am in the elimination period and feel the best I have in years. I have been off my prescription acid blocker now for 2 months. Not even needing TUMS. I have been taking an acid blocker for over 5 years. Finally, finally getting answers!

Here I am once again learning how to cook a new way. :)

Peace for the journey.


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