Saturday, August 29, 2009

Such a hectic time!

We are in the process of moving. We are very excited, but also worn out! Between packing up our stuff at the old house and moving things in the new house and making it "ours" we have been very busy. Maggie is totally beside herself. Not only does she have a big backyard to play in, but there is a swingset and a great rope swing but there are several kids in our small, quiet neighborhood. The biggest excitement for her is her good friend Heather is one house away. I am excited because there are already 7 raised garden boxes that are sitting there waiting for me to plant our garden! We have been picking peaches off the tree and watching the apples growing on another tree.
Maggie's Papa is coming up in the next couple of weeks to build her a house. Can't wait! We are going to put it under the Mimosa tree.

The downside to the house is the people who lived there before us didn't take good care of the front or backyard. So we are doing a lot of cleaning. Honestly, Chris and I aren't too bummed out about it. We love yard work, we love to fix things up, so we are having fun planning and figuring out what we are going to do with it. The backyard has a great two level deck that is going to be a lot of fun to have! Can't wait for BBQ's in our backyard!

I got a great unit study on Dirt from Lesson Pathways. Maggie has been having a blast playing in the yard. She was out in the front side yard the other day with her dolls, she was dressed up as Snow White and was making "mud hot chocolate" for her dolls. She is having a blast in the dirt, so why not throw a bit of education in there too!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Flat Sarah does Las Vegas!

Here is our first update from Flat Sarah on her trip to Vegas!

My dearest Maggie,

I have arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada! It is very hot here, it is a pretty big city with lots of lights and signs flashing. Las Vegas is a very big vacation place where people come and spend lots and lots of money in the casinos, eating at the fancy restaurants or buffets and just having a good time. There are lots of places that look very similar to where you are right now, there are tons of Churches, stores, schools, parks and houses. The family I am staying with has 5 children Joey (who took the pictures) is 15, Kayla is 17, Jessica is 12, Brianna is 10 and the baby Micah is 1. I have been having lots of fun with them especially watching Sesame Street with the baby he LOVES Elmo and all his friends. Tonight I am going to church with the family and will include a picture tomorrow.

Here is a picture of me, Jessica and Brianna! I will send some more tomorrow.

Sounds like Flat Sarah is having a great time! Thank you Michele and family for taking such good care of Flat Sarah! :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Out of the mouth of my babe.......

I love my daughter!

We were watching TV and a Nutrisystem commercial came on. A woman came walking from behind a picture of herself at her former weight. Maggie said, "wow, she's skinny" and I mumbled some comment back. Our conversation then went like this:

Maggie: I don't want you to be skinny.

Me: Why?

Maggie: Because then you wouldn't feel like my mom. I like you squishy.
Then she laid her head on my belly.

Made me feel good. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Nature-The Ultimate Playground for Kids!

Every year parents spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on toys and activities for their kids. While many of things are great for keeping young minds and bodies active, many of them are unnecessary. Sure kids need structured play, but they also need “free” play and this is easy to do when the world’s largest playground is right outside your back door. Why not let them play outside? I don't know about your children, but Maggie could spend from sun up to sun down outside. There is a swingset she plays with and other toys, but more often than not she spends her time galloping the backyard singing and making up stories and acting them out. She seems to have the most fun when she isn't playing with anything.

Every toy, book, and TV show that comes out has been designed and redesigned several times in order to make it educational and entertaining for children. The great thing about nature is that, while being entertaining and stimulating to the imagination, it’s also educational. Nature can teach children the basics of science, economics, and creativity.

It’s cheap. Depending on where you live, exploring nature is usually pretty inexpensive, if not free. It may mean going out in your backyard, local park, or perhaps going to the local nature center or state park (which usually have low cost fees or memberships). This way, you don’t have to pay for expensive toys, jungle gyms, or memberships to expensive entertainment centers, but you still get the benefit of stimulating and educational play.

It makes them think. Lately there’s been a trend in education towards inquiry based learning. Researchers have found that if students explore and experiment to figure out answers on their own, they’re going to learn better, and retain more information. It also helps them develop skills to be able to learn things on their own later. What better environment to learn things than out in nature. There are lessons for kids of all ages to discover about the world around them.

It may help the world. Everyone these days is trying to be more green and more environmentally conscious. What better way to help do your part than to get your children interested in their own planet than right now when they’re young and impressionable? What might be a fun time for them now, might be a future hobby, career, or world saving invention.

It’s fun. While it’s easy to forget, childhood isn’t just for learning about how to be an adult, it’s also about having fun. Nature gives kids a chance to use their imagination and be free to just be kids.

While unstructured play outside is great for kids, you can also find a lot of places offering structured classes and learning sessions for kids that focus on the natural world. Check your local park, zoo, or museum. There’s a good chance they have classes you can sign up for, and since many of these places are not for profit, they’re usually affordable as well as informative.

Across the world, there are millions of dollars being spent to help promote sending your kids outside to learn from nature. That’s because spending time in the outside world is so important for developing minds. It can also be a great escape for you as well.

Photobucket There is a great book by Jennifer Ward called I Love Dirt! Maggie and I love it. It has 52 different activities to help you and your child/ren discover the outdoors. I love how she even broke everything down according to the seasons. It's a great start if you can't think of something on your own and want to do something fun with your kiddo outside!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Breakfast Yum!

This morning we made homemade Cherry Oat Scones. We started out gathering all of our ingredients and getting them "Maggie ready" so she could participate in making breakfast. We also got our teapot and teacups out so we could make some tea as well. We have made this recipe once before. If you read my old blog you probably will recognize the recipe. And possibly the picture! They were delicious! Good enough to share the recipe! So here it is!

Cherry Oat Scones
Preheat oven to 375 and place rack in center oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries (we used cherries)
Zest of one lemon or orange (we had lemon)
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
Pink Sprinkles: optional!

Egg Wash: 1 large egg & 1 tablespoon milk or cream

Add all dry ingredients and mix together. The add in butter using two knives or a pastry blender. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the dried fruit and zest and mix until combined. Stir in buttermilk, (adding more if necessary) and mix just until the dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough four or five times and then pat, or roll the dough into a circle that is 7 inches round and about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut this circle into 8 triangular sections. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet. Make the egg wash and brush on tops of scones. We then sprinkled pink colored sugar on top. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Flat Sarah is on her way!

Out the door she went this morning! On her way to Vegas! Unfortunately she left with lots of tears. Not Flat Sarah, Maggie. She was so excited to make her and to send her out but when reality set in she got very sad. Maggie's Grammie is here for two days and they are out enjoying the sunshine. So hopefully the sorrow will pass and Flat Sarah will be a distant memory.....until we talk about her again! LOL

The house is quiet. I'm not used to this. I don't hear the little chatter going on behind me. It's kind of sad when she isn't here. I am definitely going to get some good cleaning done though! The windows are all open, the fresh air is blowing in. The birds are chirping outside my window while eating on the seed Maggie carefully puts out for them. It's a good day! I feel blessed!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Flat Sarah

Maggie absolutely loves learning about the States and Countries on our map. It's been really fun for her learning where family members and friends live. Knowing that Uncle Ken lives in Tennessee and Cousin Steve lives in Oregon has made learning the States pretty easy for her. But now we are running out of family so we are relying on friends now! In order to do this we are doing a Flat Sarah. A female version of Flat Stanley.

Not only will this help Maggie learn the map, she will also be learning about things that happen in different states. Weather, things to do, things about the State, etc. We are hoping for some really good feedback.....and pictures!!

Check in as I will have updates on Flat Sarah's travels!

Here is a picture of our little friend on the night before she sets out on her journey!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Making pretty things!

Maggie has discovered the art of making jewelry! We have a small bead store in town that we have tried to go to on several occasions. They have kind of weird store hours, but even when you go during those hours it's not a guarantee that they are open. We have lived her for almost 2 years now and we finally hit the jackpot last Thursday when we were in town. We were at the health food store across the street and we noticed they were open. Of course we ran across the street to make sure we got there before they decided to close for whatever reason. That's the downfall of small town living! LOL

Anyhow, Maggie and I walked around with our jaws wide open, like kids in a candy store. Maggie found a cute little kit to make necklaces(they give you enough materials to make two necklaces), we made 1 necklace and one bracelet. We have enough stuff to make a whole other set! Pretty impressive that the kit was only $5.50. Not only did we get enough to make two necklaces and two bracelets, but there are plenty of green beads for another project!

Here is the kit:



Admittedly, the two silver charms were not part of the kit. Even if we hadn't used them we still would have had lots of leftovers from the kit. For .20 cents a piece, who could resist a cute silver frog and crown??

We are heading into town in a little bit....hoping the store is open so we can get more beads and stuff!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Homemade Pearsauce

Last week while we were out and about we stumbled across a wonderful family farm that is a true gem! They not only sell fruits and vegetables but they grow the most beautiful flowers! One of the rare times I didn't have my camera with me. I was bummed, but we are going back tomorrow and you can bet I am getting some pictures! They had a big sunflower field and all sorts of flowers. Can't wait to go back and buy more fresh flowers. I absolutely love having fresh cut flowers in the house. It just adds another "happy" factor to everyday life.

I'm getting sidetracked! I'm suppose to be talking about the pearsauce we made! We bought about 8 big red pears so we could come home and try our hand at making some sauce. Two things, (1) the pictures do not do these pears or the sauce any justice and (2) we will be buying more pears and making more sauce tomorrow!

This was super easy. I just peeled, cored and cut pears into large chunks. I then put them in a big pan of water and let them boil until soft. When soft took them out of the pan and put them into the food processor. Maggie's job was to push the button and "mash" them. I added a bit of cinnamon. We did not need to add any sweetener as the pears were pretty darn sweet already! I have to say that after it had sat in the fridge for a bit, this was one of the best treats I have had in a LONG time!

Here are a few pictures!




Still Mashing:


We are going to try our hand at making some pear-applesauce next! There is nothing better than fresh, homemade food!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Two Awesome Book Giveaway!

Gabby at The Work of Childhood is giving away 2 great books! Here is a little blurb from Gabby about the book Reading Games~

This book provides plenty of ideas to enthuse and motivate your child. All the projects encourage, by playing, the development of basic skills vital for reading.
Besides having lots of fun, your child will be acquiring the ability to observe, concentrate, listen and interpret information while building up an awareness of written and spoken language in everday situations.
Each project is clearly presented with notes for adults and tips on follow-up activities.
Great for the parent who wants to help their child with the gradual process of learning to read.
Image and video hosting by TinyPicShe is also giving away 365 Days of Creative Play
Gabby says~

A fun indoor or outdoor activity for each day of the year!
For parents, grandparents, childcare providers! Uses only safe, simple, household supplies!
"Projects that you can do with your kids, and even better, activities they can do by themselves."-Family Circle
"Now there is a solution to every day of the year."-Parenting
This amazing resource of fun and thoughtful activities for kids ages two years and up will help encourage their creativity and learning through play. Using only safe, simple household supplies, 365 Days of Creative Play is great for parents, grandparents and childcare providers. Illustrated by children.

Go check it out and enter! You may be the lucky winner!
Thanks for the giveaway Gabby!

Look what you can do with soda and candy!

Most of you have heard of the Mento and Soda experiment. Since Maggie has this new found fascination with volcano's and lava (AKA....bolcano's and laba) we decided to try it out for ourselves. It was pretty fun...and the best part was Chris bought two packs of Mentos....I got the leftovers!

Setting Up!

Getting the candy!


Here it comes!


The party is over!

Super easy and cheap experiment. 1 bottle of diet Pepsi and a couple of mentos. Poof! You have an explosion!
We have a few more things we are going to be doing with volcano's and lava in the near future, so keep watching!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lesson Pathways

RUN over to Lesson Pathways! Hurry, run, don't walk! They are offering a 12 month FREE subscription to their site if you sign up as a BETA tester! I am so excited that my friend Gabby from The Work of Childhood let me know about it! Thanks Gabby!

This offer is only good thru tomorrow night (August 10, 2009-midnight), so you don't have much time left. I am amazed at how well thought out the lesson plans are. We are unschooling, but this is still a goldmine for me. Wonderful resources and ideas. There are links to videos, printables, projects, free e-books and so much more.

AWESOME! Hope you enjoy! Let me know if you sign up. Would LOVE to hear what you think of it!

OK, off to go roam the site some more!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Maggie walked on the Moon!

Maggie is obsessed with anything that has to do with Space. The Moon, Stars, Planets. Loves it. While I was blog stalking I stumbled upon a new blog, well, new to me Mind Games. She had the cutest project. Here is our version of what she had done!

Coloring Space Suit:

Making "moon glue" (1/4 cup flour, water to make paste, white/iridescent glitter for sparkle--you can also use salt

Getting dirty making the moon (favorite part) We used a strip of bubble wrap to make craters.

Glued her face to the space suit

Added stars and a space ship, Maggie walking on the moon~

She had so much fun making it we had to come up with another project. So we colored a larger version of the space suit and put in another pic of her. I *think* thats what she really wanted. I mean, how much fun is it to see a picture of yourself walking on the moon!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lables, Decisions and Fear

Labels. I hate them. I really do. All they do is confuse me. They also make me unsure. Which is pretty funny because anyone who knows me well knows that once I make up my mind about something there is absolutely no budging, no changing, no waffling. Recently though I have found myself being so fearful to make a decision about how we will be schooling Maggie. Homeschool has always been the decision since before she was born. HOW we are going to do it is what I keep going back and forth on. Darn labels! Relaxed vs. Unschooling. I keep holding on to relaxed because thats what I feel comfortable with. But Maggie on the other hand is such unschool material. I have to keep reminding myself this isn't about me. This is Maggie's education. So I am going to do it. I am going to jump in and officially unschool. The "label" we are claiming is unschooling.

We are going into this with an open mind. I am not going to get stuck in some category of how to educate my child. As time goes I am pretty sure that things will change, we will do some things, drop other things. Whatever happens I am excited. I am excited to go on this wonderful journey with my daughter and husband. I couldn't think of two better people to share this adventure with!

Now, just because I have made up my mind does not mean I got rid of my fear! I admit, I am still scared. But I am confident that things will be just fine. I will fit nicely into my role as an unschool mom. I am jumping in with both feet and eyes wide open!


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