Thursday, September 26, 2013

Penguin Themed Homeschooling

Last year I found that I was leaving out lots of fun stuff you probably get to do in real school.  I was also kind of dreading the monotony of school day in and day out, so if I was dreading it I can only imagine what Emma must have been feeling :/   

So this year I've instilled theme weeks.  It's like college all over again or something.  

Anyway  our first week we had Penguins as our theme!  And why penguins you ask?  
 Because we read Mr. Popper's Penguins!  I remember reading this in grade school and loving it so I was super excited to read it with the kiddos.  One of my dear friends, Kristina suggested getting copies for everyone so we can take turns reading or just to follow along.  It was a big help! We also used some components from a Unit Study I found online for the book.  It was awesome!  It had chapter work planned out that you could do for your entire schooling and covered math, vocabulary, history, etc.  It was so much fun and so packed with helpful info!
 I've tried to incorporate some worksheets into their school every week too.  While I can't make all of their work theme-ish, it is fun when I can make some of it.  I got this worksheet from Super Teacher Worksheets.
 Emma's not doing a penguin worksheet but I had to include this because it's just too cute.  This is her "I'm thinking really hard" look :)
 We also made penguins... Calvin using two colors and them not being blue is a huge, huge step forward folks :)
Here was Emma's finished product.  Seriously, how adorable are these two together?  I got this craft from Lakeshore Learning's site.  They have cute projects!

In addition to the things listed we made pbj's on fish shaped bread, snacked on goldfish crackers, read penguin books, made a penguin lapbook, and as our final event we watched March of the Penguins which the kids LOVED!!!  I think that movie helped them understand penguins than anything else we studied.
So excited to share with you our themes throughout the year!  If you have any ideas for themes, please let me know!  :)
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sounding like Audrey

Sunday night on our way home from Awana's Nick was driving and talking to Emma.  No big deal until he turned to me and quietly asked "when did Emma start sounding like Audrey from Christmas Vacation?" 

And I could not stop laughing. Because yes, she does sound like that sometimes.  

So funny. 

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Family Fall Festival

 Happy Fall, Y'all!  Yesterday being the first day of Autumn around here, we decided to pack up and have our traditional trek around to welcome the season!  Every year we visit a local mill for a tour, have a picnic, then go to a nearby Orchard to pick apples.
 These are the kinds of faces I get from Cal these days :)  Silly goose.  This was before they sang their fall songs for Daddy and I.  We've been working on songs about leaves and Autumn all week.  Seeing as we homeschool this was a family day/fall party/fieldtrip all rolled into one cute little package of a day!
 By picnic I mean we got take out from Panera.  I know, how planned of me.  But seriously we love their soups, it was a crisp, good day day for soup, Sunday.  And Daddy treated them to these cookies from there...yum!
 I had to document this as this is the most stubborn little boy I've ever met.  Seriously...ever!  Anyway, the boy won't even try to tie his shoes because he doesn't know how, or so he claims...Here he is tying his shoes.  He got most of it on his own and then Emma helped him finish.  But seeing him actually try to tie his shoes is a very rare photo indeed.
 Here are Emma and Daddy exploring the Dahlia garden...gorgeous, right?  By the way, this girl is looking too tall next to her 6 foot 4 inch Daddy...I'm just saying :(


 Hi Baby!  I love you!  This is the picture we always take, with the Mill behind us.  I'm pretty sure Nick thinks I'm insane that I always make him take the same pic of us every year :)
 These two...sigh.
 And these two together.  I called them my Puffy Vest Fellas.  These two go at it like cats and dogs with each other.  But here's how they really feel :)
 Then it was inside for a tour of the mill.  It wasn't on when we got there, the kids were bummed so this kind man who worked there turned it on and actually took us through the steps of how the grain is made.  That's right folks, it's a gristmill that still works!  We buy our year's supply of cornmeal there everytime we go and this time I picked up some bread flour too.  Excited to try to make wheat bread with the kiddos.
 The kids really enjoyed watching the stones grind the cornmeal we were able to take home!  Nothing like learning where your food comes from!
 Then it was onto picking apples!  Seriously, how cute are these kids?
 It's all about the outtakes, right?  How silly!!!
 Emma picked the biggest apple of the day and then proceeded to bite it before we could slip her a smaller one.  Not kidding, the four of us split that apple and it took us about 45 minutes between the 4 of us to eat it.  GINORMOUS!!!
 I think we ended up with two more bushels on top of this and then we were ready to go.  Momma's got lots of apples to make goodies with!

This was his proud moment when Daddy finally let him have his turn with the fruit picker.  He carried the apple in the basket all the way to the scales to pay.

So that was our day, hope you all are enjoying your fall!  Our house is all decorated for the season and we are loving the crisp weather!

Happy Fall, Y'all!
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Detroit

In taking the kids to explore Michigan we, of course, had to stop in Detroit and show them what it was all about.  D-town is kind of a sad place.  You try to be hopeful.. Some of the graffiti kind of amazed me.  

 But there is a lot there still...
 Lots of buildings
 And Beauty
 And Architectural details
 And history
 And intricacies...
 And neat ideas (this was an urban garden we parked by...isn't it beautiful?)
 We ate dinner at American Coney Island which was voted #1 for something by the Food Network.  So we went.  Still trying to figure out what was #1.  The hotdogs were made just for them and were pretty tasty :)
 After dinner we drove by the famous Fox Theater.
 And then had to stop by one of my favorite places of all time, the Astoria Pastry Shop.  When Nick worked in his government job he had a conference in Detroit.  Something about parks and your people or something, I'm sure.  Anyway, the kids were very small but my mother-in-law graciously watched the kids and I rode a train to Detroit to join Nick.  Anyway, we were able to kick around downtown for a few days and it was a lot of fun.  We stumbled upon this bakery during that trip and I've been hooked ever since.
 These are my absolutely favorite things in the world!  Chocolate dipped Biscotti.  They are GINORMOUS! And so delicious, I can't even tell you.
Anyway, Nick got this amazing Pecan Pie roll thing there and I got a chocolate dipped meringue.  Ours were wrapped in this cute box...isn't it adorable?  Old world charm.  The kiddos didn't have their's wrapped as they devoured them in the store.  :)

Detroit is such a neat place with such history.  I loved showing kids this city and hope you'll check it out too :)
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cotswold Tea at Greenfield Village

On September 1st we began our family vacation.  We are trying to get the kiddos to see all 50 states and this year our trip was to Michigan.  We started the trip out at Greenfield Village in Dearborn.  If you have never been I highly, HIGHLY recommend it.  My grandma took me there when I was in college and I loved it so much that I was giddy to bring the family!

To try to describe it, it is basically a village made of homes that Henry Ford collected.  He had homes brought from all over the place of famous people.  It's amazing!
One of my favorite memories of this trip was our lunch.  The boys sought out some barbeque while Emma and I made our way to the Cotswold Garden for tea. The tea is located next to a stone cottage from England.  Here are Emma and I in the gardens.  She's growing up way too fast!


Waiting...
And Waiting...
These were the gorgeous flowers right next to our table.  As beautiful as it was there were bees everywhere!  The availability of the restaurant being open was "weather and bee" permitting, so they must have some serious bee problems at times.
Tea is served!
How cute is this tea cozy?
Here were my tea sandwiches.  They were scrumptious!  Emma's were peanut butter and jelly...how adorable is that?
The angel drinking tea!  She kept putting gobs of honey in her tea, along with lumps of sugar.  She would then stir, taste and declare "I think that's just about sweet enough!"  Cutie :)  We had Earl grey Lavender tea which was the most scrumptious tea I've ever had!!!  Must find!
Here's Emma exploring the inside of the cottage.  And as romantic as cottages seem, I don't think I have any desire to actually live in one after going through this one.

Here's the outside of the cottage...isn't it lovely?  Clara Ford loved teas and gardens so this was created for her.  I loved this whole experience and afternoon with my little girl.  I hope she remembers it all.  I know I will.

Emma suggested we start having tea at home which I think I would love to do but haven't figured out how to do it yet.  I want to research and do it right, ya know?  So if you know anything about it, let me know :)
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