Archive for December, 2013

Week(s) In The Life (10, 9, 8, 7….)

December 30, 2013

Happy….. Birthday!!

Bet you thought I was going to say Happy New Year huh? Well not yet but soon, so very soon. So not wasting any time with my last post of the year let’s bring 2013 to a close shall we.

For starters we had a major warm front move in days before Christmas with temps in the 50s. It was perfect weather for enjoying the outdoors and that is just what the girls did.

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There was lots of Christmas baking

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(Sugar cookies)

and our usual Christmas traditions.

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(White chocolate covered pretzels)

There was more Christmas stories

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and Little Sis finished book number 2 of the Violet Mackerel series.

We finished our Christmas movies with my most favorite, It’s A Wonderful Life and The Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott. We had *many* conversations about socialism and capitalism. The Christmas Carol brought to life the Victorian time period set in the anime Black Butler.

Christmas day the girls awoke to find baby Jesus in the stable

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and Papa and I awoke to find gifts from Miss Sky.

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(Mine)

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(Papa’s, they will be framed and added to our art wall.)

There was more games,

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more drawings from Little Sis,

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more Minecraft,

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(Little Sis’s Rainbow Dash. Note to self must add picture of Miss Sky’s Fluttershy.)

and playing around with Movie Maker.

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Since finishing The Family Under The Bridge we watched Globe Trekker Paris France from Netflix and a request was made for Joel Schumacher’s Phantom of the Opera. Little Sis already memorized the song Angel Of Music. Add this with watching Paw’s Music Movies review of this movie and the girls can’t get enough. Which brings me to a very serious question……, Raoul or the Phantom? πŸ˜‰

We also watched the original silent version starring Lon Chaney and are starting the dramatic audiobook from LibriVox this week.

https://librivox.org/the-phantom-of-the-opera-dramatic-reading-by-gaston-leroux/

Besides our usual holiday treats I made vegan and gluten free banana chocolate chip bread

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http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2012/09/vegan-gluten-free-chocolate-chip-oatmeal-banana-bread/

(followed recipe exactly)

and one of our most favorite after Christmas left over breakfasts.

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Ham, potato cakes (from left over mashed potatoes) and over easy eggs. I make mashed potatoes using our chicken broth and Earth Balance to keep them dairy free. I use corn starch instead of flour to keep the potato cakes gluten free and in the words of Papa “These are the best ever !!” (Insert kisses πŸ™‚ )

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (“The Weather Outside Is Frightful”)

December 18, 2013

But the fire is SO delightful and since our home environment is conducive to learning, let it snow, let it snow, oh let it snow!

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We tend to hibernate during winter. We are quite busy during the other seasons planting, gathering, preparing, and enjoying the outdoors that come winter time we are ready to hunker down a bit. That is why, in my opinion, winter makes a great time for more formal lessons. I know come spring I will no longer hold the girls attentions.

However hibernating does not mean we sit around on our bums all day, there is still plenty to do. Such as games to play and stories to read.

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We finally received the second book in the Violet Mackeral series, Violet’s Remarkable Recovery, and Miss Sky started another Junie B. holiday favorite.

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Speaking of holiday favorites we have always used the story Counting To Christmas by Nancy Tafuri well to help us count the days until Christmas. Wasting no time the girls got straight to work baking their most favorite holiday treat, gingerbread cookies.

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I am pretty proud to say this year they needed no help from me. For once I could sit back and enjoy watching them read the recipe and gather the ingredients.

We celebrated the second week of Advent by adding the element of plants and trees to our stable

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and kept with our weekly rhythm of writing, word of the week, and math review. Words come from our read alouds and I use the website Math Is Fun for new practice problems as well as a yearly guide of what is studied in each grade to help me get an idea of where to start.

http://www.mathsisfun.com/

I think this is one of the best advantages of homeschooling. I am able to get an idea of what the girls would be studying if they were in school and yet can tailor those to match where the girls are. Not to mention since we homeschool year round we don’t need to stop at a certain grade but can keep going and can stop to practice without feeling “behind”.

Little Sis has been playing the Table Tree multiplication game practicing her 2, 5,10, and 11 tables. Like Miss Sky sticking with double digit multiplication and long division until the new year I think I will stick with these tables as well. Come January I will add the 3s and 4s. She is ready.

Miss Sky has really been getting in the with story and musical of The Phantom of the Opera. I know I say this year after year but I love seeing the girls interests flourish. They always amaze me.

Little Sis has been playing Sara’s Cooking Class at girl games.com. I think she is going to be my cooking child always wanting to help in the kitchen and coming up with new recipes to try (much like her bigger sister was).

http://www.girlsgogames.com/games/saras_cooking_class_games/saras_cooking_class_games.html

She also helped Papa prepare 2014s calendar and they had lots of discussions of the many different holidays.

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Fan fiction? Yes adding phantom stories to the list of favorites. Minecraft? Yes

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with Little Sis making more Nintendo characters. This picture shows how big they actually are.

Drawing? Yes more of Little Sis’s creations

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and Miss Sky has been designing cosplay pendants.

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Wishing everyone a wonderful solstice and peace for the journey.

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Week In The Life (Oh, La’ La’)

December 10, 2013

With Christmas quickly approaching readings of our favorite stories have been in abundance. Each year, it seems, we adopt a new favorite but there will always be room for those that have made their way into our hearts we just can’t do without. (It is kind of like me with the movie It’s A Wonderful Life. I can not go a year without watching it, I need the reminder.)

So with little fingers flipping their way through the many titles we have accumulated over the years one title brings pause, after Rudolf of course, The Family Under the Bridge. Yes, we shall read it next.

While waiting for the next book in the Violet Mackerel series Little Sis got in on the action too with a few a her favorites.

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It was also time to set up our Advent table.

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I am breaking the poem, by Rudlof Steiner, into four parts with the girls copying a verse each week.

β€œThe first light of Advent is the light of stones.
Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.

The second light of Advent is the light of plants.
Roots, stem, leaf, flower and fruit by whom we live and grow.

The third light of Advent is the light of beasts.
Animals of farm, field, forest, air and sea.
All await the birth in greatest and in least.

The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind.
The light of love, the light of thought, to give and to understand.”
~Rudolf Steiner

Along with new words of the week, Little Sis is working on adding 3 digit problems with multiple addends, continuing with odd and even, regrouping or “carrying over to the neighbor” as we call it, and her 2, 5, 10, and 11 multiplication tables. She also played Putt-Putt and Jumpstart.

Miss Sky is still working on 2 digit multiplication and large number division with remainders. We will probably continue reviewing until the end of the year and then begin 3 digit multiplication and two digit divisors with the new year. She has also been getting in with a new anime series Attack on Titians (and very glad to have YouTube added on their 3DS).

Which brings me to games of the week,

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our new puzzle,

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Minecraft,

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(Little Sis, again this picture is the only way to get all three of the Nintendo characters in and does not even begin to give them justice.)

and drawings.

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(Little Sis again. )

Miss Sky has been more busy reading fan fiction and watching our favorite movie reviewers webseries of late. We love the Nostalgia Critic, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nostalgia_Critic , and Paws Music Movies. I must give warning though these shows contain *lots* of bad language and may not be suitable for everyone. If in doubt please watch it first. Other than language the special effects are awesome!

Oh and new holiday recipe recommendations.

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From the kitchen this week, thanks to my friend and neighbor for the cast iron skillets and using our left over turkey, Turkey pot pies (the one in the skillet being gluten and dairy free using Pamela’s gluten and dairy free multipurpose flour and pie crust recipe replacing Earth Balance with butter).

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I also tried my hand at flourless banana pancakes. The recipe calls for 3 ripe bananas and 3 eggs. You can add a dash of cinnamon and vanilla too.

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They were more like crepes than pancakes but were pretty good. They were even better with peanut butter rolled in the middle. I might try them next time with a bit of honey drizzled over the top for a protein pick me up snack, yum.

Happy Holidays and peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (“An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving)

December 1, 2013

Being we celebrated Thanksgiving here in the states our homeschool week was a bit short. There was, after all, a drive out to our poultry farmer to pick up our turkey and lots of preparations on my part to get ready.

So the start of the week we did our usual with a poem to copy, words of the week to look up, math problems to practice, and I asked Little Sis to finish the number pattern in the poem.

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We are settling in with our new rhythm quite nicely. It just feels right practicing reading, writing, and arithmetic during the fall and winter. Especially when days are full of this.

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We are always watching some type of history or geography documentary no matter what the season, Miss Sky and I can’t wait for the season 4 premier of Downton Abbey, and I love our subscription to Star Talk Radio keeping us updated on the science front.

http://www.startalkradio.net/

I am seeing more actual science projects though coming up during spring and summer when the girls enjoy being outdoors. It just feels right too, yes we are enjoying our new routine. Of course with Miss Sky she will need to practice math all year round in order for her to retain what we have learned.

We wrapped up our school week with Little Sis finishing book 1 of Violet Mackeral (“Mom you better order the next one.” )and me reading one of our holiday favorites An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott. Games? πŸ™‚

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Thanksgiving brought smells of turkey through out the home and our annual watching of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Dog Show. Then it was time to bust out the Christmas decorations,

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(I go back and forth between homemade ornaments and a Star Wars tree, because nothing says Christmas like Star Wars you know πŸ˜‰ . Yes my geeky side exposed have I.)

Christmas movies (with the first always being A Christmas Story), Christmas stories (the first always being the original Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer by Robert L May), and Christmas puzzles (the first always being the new one from the previous year).

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Always Minecraft,

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(Little Sis who watched a YouTube video on how to build a brick mansion, and “Mom what’s a mansion?” This picture really doesn’t give it justice.)

Fan fiction from Miss Sky,

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(Using her 3ds to look up words)

and drawings.

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(The raven from Princess Tutu, Miss Sky)

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(Princess Tutu characters, Little Sis)

Hope everyone celebrating Thanksgiving had a good one.

Peace for the journey.