Saturday, October 31, 2009

Completely Random

Just so you know, the picture has nothing to do with this post, but because I love pictures I thought I'd share on that was taken while I was running on the beach. No, I didn't stop running to take pictures Mr. Scarecrow took it while I was running. In fact, that's not the stretch of beach I run on either, but we do go down by that lighthouse to play at the park down there from time to time. Okay, so now for some total randomness..

First off, and most excitingly stay tuned for some new fun and exciting changes here at the Aussie Pumpkin Patch! We're all a buzz about it, but you'll have to stay tuned to see what they are.

Secondly, I'm a bit behind on some wonderful blog awards we've been given. Thank you to all of you, I will get them posted soon! It's always so fun to see that people enjoy your blog enough to read it and see that they love it enough to give you an award.

Thirdly, the deadline is nearly up to nominate your favorite homeschool blog in the 5th Annual Homeschool Blogger Awards. The deadline is October 30th (USA time) so don't forget to nominate your favorite blogs. The voting won't start until November 9th (USA time and also my birthday!)

Fourthly, Nanwrimo starts on November 1st, are you ready? That's tomorrow where I live! I'm excited to get started and will have to shift my schedule around to make a bit of room for that daily writing. Stay tuned for those annoying word counts!

Fifthly, I'm excited to announce that the 30 Days Of Thanks & Giving will be up for viewing tomorrow. I put together 30 days of fun based on Thanksgiving for my kids and will post it for all of you to enjoy as well. All the crafts are simple and many are printable. I've also included a heap of links for various other fun Thanksgiving things (including two free lapbooks).

Lots going on around this little pumpkin patch so stay tuned for all the upcoming fun! While you're waiting I thought I'd pass on this amazing website I stumbled upon today. I adore her ribbon skirt and am debating making it for a couple of little girls I know or myself.. Mm I'm so torn! You really must check out the oodles of goodies on that site!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Christmas Lists

This StarWars craze isn't passing anytime soon. The boys caught hold of a toy ad that showed up here recently and started going crazy about all the StarWars stuff inside of it. Jayden's list was very simple; StarWars guns. Morgan's list was much more complicated and in depth. So much so that he couldn't make up his mind what should be on his list, and worse then that he couldn't decide what to save up his monies for. Man, StarWars stuff is expensive here, is it expensive where you live? On special we're talking $60 a set for the lego, and that's the cheapest one! After three days of Morgan wandering around thinking of nothing more then StarWars I asked him to go make a list of what he wanted. It was stated there was no guarantee he was getting it. Morgan sat at the table the entire time I was making dinner. He wrote and drew, circled, threw some arrows on the paper, flipped it over and kept on going. I was getting extremely worried about the size of his list. Then he gave me the paper. He was worried I wouldn't know what he wanted so he's drawn me pictures of it all. Funniest part? The stuff on his list was what I suspect he wanted.. you know the Millenium Falcon (dubbed "circle ship" on his list), Darth Vader's Fighter, Storm Troopers, Luke, Chewbacca, Han, Yoda, Vader, C3Po, R2D2, and apparently another fellow who's name he's not sure of. I really loved the fact that he wrote, "I don't know hehehe" for that particular character. I suspect Jayden will be asking for Princess "Layer", for some odd reason she's his favorite. So much so that he dragged one poor unsuspecting cousin into a weekend long game of StarWars and she was dubbed, "Princess Layer" the whole time.

With a list this long I might have to go hang out on ebay for a while, but last time I checked even ebay prices for StarWars lego was pretty high...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Little Catterpillar

The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity. ~Attributed to George Carlin

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly. ~Richard Buckminster Fuller

Fuzzy, wuzzy, creepy, crawly
caterpillar, funny.
You will be a butterfly
When the days are sunny.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Letters From History

While putting things together for our 30 Days Of Thanks & Giving I stumbled upon a terrific freebie from Scholastic. If you sign up they'll email you letters written from the perspective of a young girl traveling on the Mayflower as well as from a Native American boy. There's a total of six letters and extra goodies all emailed to you!

Paper Toys

A few Saturdays ago we printed out a bunch of these cute little paper toys from the Toy A Day Blog. The creator, Joe, has made 116 of them to date and is offering all of them up for grabs as free downloads. He's even shared the templates he's used so people can make their own, very cool. I printed a bunch out late Friday night and then put them on the table so we could work on them while we ate our waffles. They go together really quickly, all though I'm not as fond of the template that didn't require glue/tape, and found that I had to tape it anyway. My very favorites that we printed out thus far would have to be Russell and Mr Fredricksen. I really enjoyed this film, Up, but the paper toys capture the characters very well. The boys thought they were pretty good as well, all though I think they were hoping for the exotic bird from the movie too.

This household is all about StarWars right now. Or at least two little people who live in this house are all about it. One of the big people in this house has to spend all her time telling them which character is which and so on while the other big person in this house sits there with his mouth hanging open. Yeah, it's kinda embarrassing that I know that much about StarWars, because I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the movies. Anyway, they were highly delighted that I put these characters together for them, and we also made an R2D2 which didn't make it into the picture. We missed Chewie because there's no link for him, which is a total shame. He has to be one of my favorites as well as Han, you know.. if I was picking one from a movie I don't really care for..

We printed these fellows from Where The Wild Things Are. Mind you, my kids don't know it's a movie, they just know it's a book. I've no idea where our copy is, so they'll probably hound the library for it.

A few more favorite characters we made. The boys are all over Astro Boy, but they've only seen the older tv shows. They are quite eager to go see the newer movie, we shall see.. Indiana Jones is always high on their list, but he's taken a smaller backseat to Starwars since they haven't been able to see his films yet. As for "The Cat", what more is there to say?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Applique T-Shirts

The other day the boys decided they wanted to make Star Wars t-shirts using some graphics I found online. I was all for this because the kids could use a few new t-shirts for the summer months ahead and if you've been out clothes shopping for boys lately you'll know there's nothing worthy of buying. While we were in town on Friday, we ran by Best & Less and picked up some t-shirts. As it turned out they had a lot of brightly colored plain t-shirts on special for 50% off the normal price. I ended up picking each of the boys up 3 shirts. I had no plans for the extra shirts, but figured they'd just wear the plain ones as the warmer weather continues to roll in. However, while looking for something on my computer I decided to pop in at Fat Cat Patterns, if you haven't been by their website you really should. Sindy has some really amazing patterns and they are all free! She's created them and posts them for anyone to use. We really love the website and have used several of her patterns with plans for many more.

Sindy had some new animal patterns up over there, including an adorable looking zebra! I was excited by that because we have a HUGE zebra fan in this house. I'd all ready seen the guinea pig patterns some time ago and was going to use that for a project for Morgan and was considering a t-shirt, but when I saw the zebra I jumped.

He was very simple to make, all though his stripes can be a tad time consuming. It was completely worth it. I started it quite late in the evening and finished it up before bed. When Morgan woke up I told him I had something up on the ironing board for him. He was so excited that in despite being half asleep he ran in to get dressed straight away and then proudly showed anyone who'd listen to him his cool new shirt. He also thanked me a million times over for it. The original pattern had white ears, and I made mine black by accident, but I liked them enough not to bother changing them out.

What you do for one you must do for the other! So I decided to make Jayden the simplistic dump truck. He was over the moon excited about it, especially when I added in some rock sin the back. That material has been in my stash waiting to be used for a long while now, and this project was perfect for it. He was so happy with his shirt he was quite disgruntled this morning when I suggest he put it in the washer instead of on his body. Needless to say I'm going to have to whip up some more of these shirts. Best part is, because I sewed the applique on with my machine they really only took a very short time. Jaydens took me about 30 minutes including cutting out, and Morgan's took me an hour or two because I had to sew around all his little stripes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Froggie Invasion!

Our anniversary happens to be the same date as my sister-in-law's birthday. While discussing various things this past week the birthday girl came up in conversation a few times. Morgan has had his eyes on something in particular he's wanted to get her since the mouse invasion (all six of them) back in March. However, the birthday gathering isn't for a while so I suggested he make a froggie cupcake or something else instead. He was hesitant because he wasn't convinced he could do it, and when I told him I'd help him he was willing to try.

We ended up using this yellow cake recipe, and swapped sugar for coconut sugar. I opted to use one with the word "butter" in the title because the boys have been going on and on and on about butter cake. Don't ask me why, to my knowledge I've never ever made one in their lifetime. Anyway, he was delighted to get to find out what all the hype about a butter cake was. I'm not convinced that it's a true butter cake recipe, but we let him use all butter instead of applesauce and butter. Mind you, our cake was also organic, but the 8 year old doesn't really care about that...

Then I made up some cooked honey frosting. I didn't really want Morgan messing with boiling hot honey. The recipe sounds complicated, but more then anything else it's just a tiny big time consuming. However, it's fun to give the kids a frosting they can occasionally tint, and isn't chocolate or made with cream cheese. The recipe is very simple. You'll find that the frosting won't be PURE white considering it has an amber sweetener in it. You can download the recipe for the frosting here, or by clicking on the picture below.

To make the froggies simple spread frosting on your cupcakes. Cut a marshmallow in half (the only sugary item we used as we were out of homemade ones, and they aren't always round..) On the sticky side of the marshmallow push a chocolate chip into it. Place the "eyes" on the cupcakes, and use chocolate frosting for the smile. We like this recipe here. Morgan had a blast making the eyes (I cut the mallows for him) and letting Daddy help him put them on the cupcakes. We had quite the assembly line going!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

FFWW: Lewis & Clark

We're still exploring the westward expansion with Lewis & Clark. It looks like our hopes of a two week study may expand a bit into some Thanksgiving plans (stay tuned) that we have. We have quite the busy week ahead of us between school and other appointments. The boys are enjoying the Lewis & Clark books so much that Tuesday afternoon they spent most of the day playing Lewis & Clark. Buster was roped into play as well because he had to be Seaman. All though I'm betting Seaman chased squirrels instead of the neighbors cats. They explored the front garden, the rosemary shrubs, & under the trampoline before the Mighty Clark (I mean Morgan) was scared by a bird and they ran for cover.

Yes, it's true he has an irrational fear or birds, with a slightly rational reasoning. Did I mention the time a black bird got into the rumpus room via the chimney? Yeah, well it did. Jayden came downstairs and announced ever so calmly "Why's there a bird in the rumpus room staring down at me guys?" Yeah, well upon trying to evict it, my hair apparently looked inviting, either that or my wild mop of curly bed hair looked like a fellow blackbird. The bird flew straight for my hair and when I ducked and tried to run I ran into Morgan. I screamed, in general, thinking I'd hurt him which made him scream and run for his life. He doesn't look at birds the same unless he's tucked safely inside. All though I will say the irrational fear only applies to blackbirds. I really hope William Clark didn't suffer the same problem..

So this week the boys will find:

  • Timeline Pages as we continue to jot down important dates and draw pictures go with them.
  • Keel Boat supplies for building a miniature keel boat (if I can find a store that will sell me some balsa wood..)
  • Lewis & Clark Journals -- they'll do nature in these during our study and they should tuck into the back of their notebooks
  • Seeds -- both of the boys have picked seeds to plant this spring and to ensure we get to them I'll pop them in their boxes.
  • Graph paper for surveying the front yard the way Lewis & Clark would have done
  • Dice Math
  • Joey-Joey
  • Domino Math
We'll still be working on our Bible Timeline and adding things to our Lewis & Clark notebooks as we go along. They'll also mark the places mentioned in our books on our map of the
Louisiana Territory.

What about you, what do you have planned for your Fun Filled Weekly Workboxes? Blog about it and then come back and link up! Don't have a blog and want to play along? Just leave a comment telling us what fun things you have planned for your workboxes.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Anniversary..

Happy Anniversary to the Head Pumpkin around here!
I love you, and just think it's not the coldest day of the year!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Math Sites

Check out these fun math sites I stumbled upon

Each of the sites has loads of online games. Some offer lesson plans, reviews of other math games/sites, and so much more. Lots of free fun!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Simplistic Math Games

We use dice and dominoes a bit in math here. The Place Value Game & Domino Math are two of the biggest hits. So while sitting here considering how to expand with more play and have them learn to show their work I thought about adding the value of rolled dice. Imagine my delight when I discovered that Homeschooling with Index Cards all ready had some fun math papers created! They have the regular dice game math paper as well as one for fact families with dice. That is a really great idea, especially for little ones who are still learning their fact families. They also have a dice multiplication paper too which will be very handy in the upcoming months. I love the domino math paper, which saves me the trouble of making one; there's also a multiplication version. This is where we usually print out our Hundreds Chart from as well, and you can find a lot of games here to use with it. I've never introduced my boys to an addition/subtraction chart, I've always just hung a poster with the math facts in the bathroom. However, I thought it might be fun to introduce them to this handy addition chart that Molly's made. I suspect it will get some wheels turning for a certain little boy I know. I was also really excited to see her Mathematician Biography papers as I'm hoping to use Mathematician's Are People Too not too far down the road.

While these forms aren't exactly Math related I thought I'd point out Molly's Bible Study Paper for kids. I love the little slots for prayer requests! Check out her Country Pages*, which are fantastic for many of the unit studies we do. I love them! (*it's a zip file under the What's New Category.)

Jesus & Chips..

We recently started the New Testament Overview Bible study with the boys. It's a great program that uses drawing & memorisation to teach key points/times/people of the Bible. We've covered much of the old testament, but not as much of the new as we should. Add that to some questions that they have been asking and I was on the hunt for a good NT Bible program. It's not as easy as it sounds and I was about to have to piece something together when I saw the review(s) for the Bible studies put out by Grapevine publishing. (You can read one here by Michele, and one here by Tristan.) It reminded me that we had the Christmas Bible study and we'd never used it because I couldn't make heads or tales of it. Michele's review turned the lightbulb on for me. Anyway, we've finally begun using it. Morgan is completely over the moon excited that he's going to learn all about God and get to draw all at the same time. Jayden was much more hesitant because he's not keen on drawing as he finds his pictures inadequate compared to his brother's much more complex drawings. When I told Jayden that the drawings were simple, so simple that even I could do it he was pretty convinced he could do it. So we began..

I drew stick figure pictures on the white board and explained what each picture meant. I told them it was perfectly fine if they didn't know much about one of the pictures because we'd be studying it all this year. Which led to a math question, "How long's a year Mom?" "It's 365 days Jayden." "What? I have to draw for 365 days? Mom! You said this was easy." "No, you don't draw that long. We'll just use it a little bit each day for a while." "Oh." Peace and quite reigned until Morgan uttered, "Mom, I can't see what you're doing." "Move to the other chair, and wait patiently. You can draw after I explain what I'm doing." "Okay, but I like my chair better."

So I pointed to the board and explained the first stick figure was Adam because the Bible starts with him. The boys nodded with unisons of, "We know about him." I had to cut them off before they went into detailed version of the events in the Garden of Eden. So I pointed to my next figure and said that it was Noah. Ahh yes, they knew him too. Then came Abraham, followed by David, followed by captivity, and lastly came Jesus.

Everyone was happily drawing away when Jayden shouts out, "Mom look at David!" I peek at his paper. David is drawn where the captivity should be, and he's the size of Goliath. I smile and say, "Yikes, that's big." I drew an arrow to the proper place and circle the word Babylon for the captivity. We keep working and that's when Morgan says it.. He smiles sweetly, and says, "Everyone come look at my paper!"

Did he draw stick figures? No. Of course not. Morgan drew intricate figures complete with hair, colored robes, and stuff. Not just any stuff either. Adam has an apple. Abraham has a newspaper to read. David has a slingshot, "just in case". Noah was given a hot drink because it was probably cold on the ark with all that rain. Jesus.. Oh Jesus was given the best, and why not? Aren't we suppose to give our best to Him? Jesus was given a nice smoothie and a packet of hot chips (french fries).

I'm sitting there with a smile plastered on my face that probably screamed "fake", and Morgan is beaming with pride. "Isn't it great?" "Um, yeah. I guess it is." "What? Was the newspaper too much? I was a little worried about that, but I figured he might want to know what was going on!" Yeah, it was the newspaper because after all there's nothing unusual about Jesus drinking smoothies and eating french fries, right?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Lewis & Clark

While setting up our workboxes this week I pulled out a few more resources for our Lewis & Clark study. We like to keep a large timeline hanging up for the kids to hang major dates and such on, but with this study there's lots of little dates that also have significant meaning so we're using these blank timeline papers to keep track of the smaller things. They'll fit nicely into their notebooks too. Guest Hollow also has an entire lesson planned out as part of their history section. We won't be using the lessons, but I thought I'd share them incase anyone else was interested in them.

Scholastic also has a variety of things for students and teachers. I especially like the specimen box idea, the printable labels will go well with the nature journals they'll make this week. Education Place has some nifty maps, which the boys will love putting in their notebooks.

One of the math lessons this week was to put prices to each of the items that Lewis purchased for the expedition. PBS has quite the detailed list of things purchased which will be very handy for this lesson! One of the booklets in the lapbooks previously posted would be great too.

While searching for a nice picture of Seaman I stumbled upon a blog where the family had done a Lewis & Clark study. She mentioned some historical trunks one can rent based on various times in history. They sound very cool! I'd love to be able to rent a few myself, but I suspect Im a tad outside their area. I also really loved this Lewis & Clark toy too, all though I suspect my kids would prefer the Lewis & Clark lego men I've seen floating around.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blogging Award

This Blogging award was passed on to me by two fellow homeschoolers, Tristan & Heather. The catch to this little blogging award is that I'm suppose to answer 35 questions about myself with one word. Apparently the originator of this award hangs out with my kids a lot..

1. Where is your cell phone? no idea

2.Your hair? soft

3. Your mother? supportive

4. Your father? funny

5. Your favorite food? mexican

6. Your dream last night? None

7. Your favorite drink? water

8. Your dream/goal? write

9. What room are you in? bedroom

10. Your hobby? many

11. Your fear? Spiders

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? happy

13. Where were you last night? home

14. Something you aren't? perfect

15. Muffins? Sunrise

16. Wish list item? Fit Chair

17. Where did you grow up? Ny/Tn

18. Last thing you did? brush my teeth

19. What are you wearing? pjs

20. Your TV? old

21. Your pets? noisy

22. Your friends? sincere

23. Your life? great

24. Your mood? content

25. Missing someone? Yes

26. Vehicle? Holden

27. Something you're not wearing? shoes

28. Your favorite store? Hobby Lobby

29. Your favorite color? lilac

30. When was the last time you laughed? earlier

31. Last time you cried? unknown

32. Your best friend? hmmm

33. One place that I go over and over? bridge

34. One person who emails me regularly? Mr. D.

35. Favorite place to eat? home

Now I'm suppose to pass this little award upward and onward to six others, which I always dislike because I don't want people thinking I don't like their blog if I don't pass on the award to them. However, there are a couple of blogs I read when I have a spare minute (or three) and I'll at least mention them in no particular order:

Nettie -- a fellow homeschooler and Australian. Someday, I'm kinda hoping I can crash in on her art lessons and play along too.. I'm pretty sure my boys would agree.

Andrea -- another fellow homeschooler who's cabin I'd love to visit just so I can see the wild Moose families. All though I'll probably break out in song with, "I'm a chocolate moose on the loose and I ...." I can't be the only person in the world who listens to the Chocolate Moose cd!

Julie -- also a homeschooling mom who does some fantastic unit studies herself. My kids are still hoping I can pull of a mystery unit, and I think I'll have to borrow some Julie's ideas! My husband is especially fond of their backwards day tradition, we might have to try this one out!

Jen -- Yep, another homeschooler (are you seeing my trend?) who also does some fantastic unit studies. Plus, have you seen her little ones smiles, they are so very cute! They have so much fun doing lots of great stuff together as a family! Oh, did you know they are famous?!

Katie -- the pictures on her blog are gorgeous, and I can so relate to the many things her children say and do. Plus it's always way more fun when someone else's children are saying or doing it because then you can giggle about it, right?

Aussie Homeschool -- which isn't a blog persay, but rather a well spring of information for Australian homeschoolers with links to some amazing blogs. Not to mention lots of other great stuff. So, rather then listing each individual blog I'm kinda listing them all. ;) Is that a cheat? Maybe, but you have to admit there's some really great blogs there.

Now.. while I'm speaking of blogs I was asked to mention that the 2009 Homeschool Blog Awards are coming up... So, if you have a homeschool blog you like to visit often you might want to go vote for them..

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lewis & Clark

When we did our Mailing May unit study we started learning about Lewis & Clark. We had a great amount of fun with the study, but we never truly finished it up as I’d planned. So before we jump into pioneers I wanted to finish up our study with them.

After all we can’t leave Lewis, Clark, York, Seaman, & the rest of the corps hanging out there in the middle of the river forever! We want to know what happens, and it will tie in beautifully as we learn about the westward expansion this summer. Something we’re all looking forward to.

We’ve been slowly reading the book Seaman. It’s a very well written book mostly from the perspective of the dog on the expedition, but loaded with details about what was seen, done, felt, etc. The women who wrote the book used the journals from the expedition to write the book, so not only is it a well written story but it’s also factual. That’s a double bonus for us!

To help me out with our unit study, which I wanted to keep semi simple and hopefully finish up in a two week time period, I obtained The Lewis & Clark Expedition put out by Kaleidoscope Kids. This book is equally loaded with factual information, direct quotes from the many journals (all though most of those had my head spinning with the spelling!), crafts, maps, and even actual copies of pages from the journals.

We’ll also be using a few notebooking and lapbooking resources that I’ve found around the web:

Free Lewis & Clark Lapbook #2 (This one has beautiful graphics with it!)
History Scribe’s Indians (this one’s still on special for $1.32)
History Scribe’s Westward Ho! (also still on special for $1.32)

We won’t be using every last one of the resources, I’m sure, but there’s really some great stuff out there for this unit study. The Indian resources are something we’ll probably be using for quite some time as it will carry over into our Pioneer studies as well. I also tend to gather both lapbooking and unit study ideas together at once because I have one on each side of that line.

To keep with our Living Math theme I’ve also devised math problems based on the information in The Lewis & Clark Expedition. Some of it will be touching on topics that the boys are unaware they are familiar with (like multiplication), but that’s okay. It was on the books for this year anyway, and I find that introducing a concept and leaving it for a while is good. That way when we come back to it and work more in depth with it the entirety of the concept isn’t foreign to them. Rather, it’s like meeting an old friend they can’t wait to know more about.

I’m thinking we’ll keep these in both our normal Math notebooks, but also in our Lewis & Clark notebook/lapbooks. I’ll simply run copies off after the boys have completed the work. They always thinking running copies off of their own work is so much fun, especially if it’s something they’ve colored.

Here’s a sample of some of the math problems I’ve come up with for them:

“America purchased Louisiana Territory on April 30, 1803. Newspapers didn’t announce the signing until July 4th, 1803. How many days passed before everyone knew?”

“The grizzly bear’s claws were 7 inches long. How long are your fingernails? How much longer are the bears claws?”

They’ll also measure a variety of other animal’s claws to get a view of how long the bears claws were. We’ll be looking at how much longer a league is then a land mile, and “buying” supplies for the journey westward. It should be fun for them to see how the simplistic things they’ve been learning can be used to figure out bigger problems.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Play Tent

I tend to visit a lot of craft blogs quite often. When I find a craft that strikes my fancy I bookmark it away for later use. In fact, my pile of crafts "to do" is getting so large that at the rate I'm going I may have to employ people in order to accomplish them! A few months ago while visiting a craft blog, I saw a link for a quick & simple tent craft. My intention had been to whip it up and surprise the boys with it when we finally saw rain again, you know, like this summer -- hopefully. Last year they spent many hours propping blankets over clothes lines on the deck to build tents and play in them. So I knew that this would be something that they'd use quite a bit. I decided to make it up for them to take on our camping trip, and it kept many people busy. Those playing in it, and those setting it up..

I ended up using an old sheet too and simply used wide webbing on each corner and then one on each side of the middle to it could be propped up. I didn't measure anything. I simply folded my sheet in half and pinned the webbing in place. I'd say each piece of webbing was about 6-8 inches long which I then folded in half.

We had three (I don't know why we only had three) tent stakes holding three corners down, and a rock holding the fourth The ground was pretty tough in that area so we used some of the loose soil and rocks to prop the front end up. Once we moved it to another spot the ground was a tad better.

This thing took like 30 minutes or less to make. Very simplistic. The kids weren't the only one who enjoyed it either. When I brought it home to pop in the washer I noticed dog prints, possum prints, and a few possible wallaby prints upon the thing. I dunno what was going on while we were sleeping, but I'm suspecting the possums and wallabies were debating who was gonna sleep in the tent!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Growing Beards...

Morgan has been quite concerned about facial hair for some time now. He'll sit and stare at Daddy over breakfast and comment how Daddy has a beard growing. He's quite concerned about growing a beard himself. This weekend with the lack of shaving Morgan was quite distraught that each man had "beard spots". This freaked him out, a lot. Morgan's fear with facial hair isn't the beard itself, in fact he use to want Daddy to grow a beard because he thought it was would be so cool. However, that's not the case anymore. While we stood scanning the sky for Uncle Damien's plane to arrive Morgan says, "I don't want a beard!" His voice was quite distraught while saying it. Uncle Damien, poor fellow, completely unaware of Morgan's irrational fear says, "Why not?" Morgan takes one look at Daddy a quick look at Uncle Damien and practically shouts, "Because I don't want beard spots! I want my face to stay just like it is now. I want to be me forever!"

After the giggles quieted down it was explained that Morgan will forever and always be Morgan, and he can shave off his beard anytime he wants. Mind you, it's still up in the air as to who's buying the razor on that special occasion. We're also betting that in a few years Morgan will outgrow this funny little fear. Oh, and incase you haven't guessed all ready, he's quite beardless still. I just doctored his photo to show him how he'd look with a beard. All though between you and me, I think Jayden has more to worry about then Morgan. After all Jayden was the fuzzy peach when he was born, where as Morgan stayed bald and hairless for many, many months..

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Arm River 2009

As promised, pictures and stories of Arm River 2009 have arrived. This is something the boys look forward to each year, but they weren't expecting it to be quite as chilly at night as it was this year. They thought it was very cool to wear a clean shirt (for the next day) under their jammies and clean socks to bed. They weren't as enthusiastic about scrubbing their feet before putting on those clean socks though.. Such is the life of a camper, right?? Don't ask me what Jayden is doing in this photo aside from eating his special camping cereal (read.. Mommy bought him a box of cheerios for camping and he was over the moon excited!) He's also got hot cocoa and marshmallow all over his face. The hot cocoa was from breakfast, but the marshmallow was most likely from the night before. A real pity we didn't let the possums in during the night to lick him clean!

The boys threw that skateboard in the car last minute and spent many hours riding down that small ramp you see in the background of one of the photos. Jayden was so funny coming down it with his mouth wide open that we had to snap a few photos. I think the only reason he was doing that was for fear he'd ride right into the girls bathroom. All though he told us it would be so funny to ride right in, past the showers, and into the toilets while waving to anyone in there. Minus all the girlie screams it would have been downright hilarious!

That tent was a last minute craft we threw together before leaving and it got an awful lot of attention from people to animals. We were laying in the tent playing shadow puppets, watching clouds, and being completely silly when the boys decided they wanted a snack. While going to get them a snack some bikers wandered up and were asking to use to the toilets when they noticed Lawrence laying flat on his back in the tent with his arm in a sling. He didn't have his sunnies on so his arm was across his face. The poor girl took one look at him and says, "Wow, did that poor fellow hurt himself here? Should I call for help?" It was all I could do to keep a straight face!

Yes, that's an American football, and I made sure to show them all how to throw a nice spiral too. Only, cause the normal camera man is down one arm the only proof I have is the look of total shock on the face of the Aussie who was caught playing with an American football. All though he made a pretty good center minus that arm, but our wide receiver was another story all together...

We had many fun, and some not so fun, nature moments. The possum was discovered eating out of Buster's food bowl because I forgot to pick it up before dark. She quickly scrambled up a pole and sat there watching us. She had a pouch full of babies too and while we didn't see the babies we had a blast watching her pouch wiggle and poke and flop around. She was incredibly agile considering her pouch full. For the record, that's a brush tailed possum.

The fallen trees are all over in the forest on the walk down to the river. Mind you, the path to the river is clearly marked (don't deny it!) and it just so happens that one of our party led us off the trail and through the bush to the river. We found the river, all though with all it's rushing noises it would have been pretty hard to miss! We also spotted many traces of wombats (ie, scat) and there were a couple of us who took the time to investigate anything suspect of being a wombat burrow. Sadly, I think that wombat stayed one step ahead of us the whole time, cause we never spotted more then a few of his digging spots and his scat.

This was the many views we were treated with upon finding that river. The boys had a lot of fun playing on the rocks, and while you can just barely see it there was a small and shallow pool near enough to them that Jayden was quite intent on swimming around it. I told him it was a bad idea because I hadn't brought spare clothes, so he busied himself with investigating other things. Moments later he slipped off that large rock and splashed into the water where three of us scrambled to grab him. He stood up fighting tears, looks his uncle in the face and says, "I have to go back now. Right now. I need dry clothes. NOW." He wasn't shouting, but he was oh so serious.

His eczema is still raw on his legs and when the wet denim brushed it he was in pain. So we stripped the poor kid down, warmed him up and wrapped him up in a fleece coat. He was okay for about two minutes before deciding we needed to head back. Small problem. We'd officially lost the trail. Does this sound familiar?? Lawrence wandered just out of sight to locate the trail, with very little luck, and we all set off.

That five minute walk took us over an hour as we scrambled under tea tree bushes, over fallen gum trees, around wombat burrows, and through jack jumper nests. All the while our eyes wide open for leeches, and they were aplenty! So I'd carry Jayden a ways, put him down while Lawrence scouted out the direction to go next, and Uncle Damien took photos of the scenery, then we'd pour salt on the leeches attempting to crawl up us and move on. I'm pretty sure there were many wombats and wallbies sitting behind those bushes giggling themselves crazy at us. In fact I was sitting there waiting for a Kangaroo to hop out at any moment and offer me berries and a ride in her pouch.

Morgan and I even discussed the possibility of getting a ride like Dot. I felt it might be itchy and hot and make my allergies go nuts. Morgan pointed out how much quicker we'd find out way back and that it would be a lot of fun to have a bouncing race. I have to agree with him.

Needless to say we found out way back and the boys ratted us all out on the "getting lost bit" and we tried to convince Nana we weren't lost at all but rather scouting out that wombat, but I think the next half hour of leech removal gave us away..

We also hiked on a new path this year which was steep but worth it because we made it to the top of the water falls. It was beautiful and the boys were pleased to get to sip some of the fresh water too. There was a section of the pool at the base of the water fall that reminded us of Nim's Island much to the boys delight. We also walked down to the base of the waterfall and enjoyed watching the full effect from down there. Then we discussed how it would be so fun to swim in the pools of water (two) that were being made by the water fall. Only one of the group was brave enough to try swimming though! Maybe next year..

The boys jumped from rock to rock though, and enjoyed the icy water on their feet. Yes, Jayden slipped in farther then he meant again, but I was smart enough to carry a spare pare of pants that time! He was quite happy with that and hid behind a rock (which I'm not so sure hid him) to change his pants while no one was looking. Oh & Louise, Morgan's still baffled by why we saw that hanky so much!

We wrapped up our last night with a big bonfire which everyone enjoyed. The boys had so much fun helping haul fallen trees, dead fern, and other odd bits to the pile for the grand event. Even our one armed man managed to drag back quite the tree for the event. The boys even learned about levers during the process and then ran for their lives when I mentioned I had a couple of leeches on me. The homemade marshmallows were so-so in the bonfire. The boys had no qualms about eating them, we just had to warn others about how quickly the mallows would melt. We enjoyed the bonfire until we were practically sitting upon what little of it was left, then we imagined all the wildlife peeking out of the trees waiting for us to leave so they could warm themselves. That would have been a sight to see, and I'm pretty sure they would have agreed that gum bark and dried leaves makes a much better fire started then loo paper....

Monday, October 12, 2009


School plans are something that I seem to find myself constantly working on. The Unit study planning pages in my planner are always being jotted on, added too, erased, and refined. It’s probably an obsession at this point, but most of those plans are put into action somewhere down the line. Of course having a few ideas for unit studies going at once not only keeps me on my toes but allows me to know what we’ll be learning next. It can be a blessing and a curse at times.

The idea was to do a gold rush unit meshing the Australian gold rush with the American gold rush. However, we also decided a pioneer unit would be awfully fun too and then we debated the normality of doing one before the other to keep things chronologically correct.

In short we decided to work on the Pioneer study first, and I’m really excited about it. The idea is to kick off the Pioneer studies by rowing the book Three Names. We'll also make a lapbook or notebook for this as well as some of the resources below.

Originally I was also going to build some unit studies based on the Little House books. I remember some fond memories of reading those books when I was younger, and while the books are mainly about little girls I think the stories and adventures are ones the boys will truly enjoy. We’ll also be doing the free lapbook over at homeschoolshare to go along with out Little House readings. We’ll also be using one of the Little House cookbooks too.

While we don’t own any of the Little House craft books, we do own Pioneer Days. Which is loaded with little stories, crafts, recipes, and games. All of which are based on the Pioneer time frame. The boys and I were peeking through it while we were camping this past week and I pointed out all the super fun things that we’d get to try out including making their own soda pop. Quite an interesting little recipe that one is! We’ll also use History Scribe’s Pioneer pages over the course of several unit studies, including this one!

We’ll also delve into Indians a bit with the Evan-Moor’s Native American History Pockets. We really enjoy the various pocket “kits” that Evan-Moor offers and have finished several and have others that we add to as we study various elements that would apply to them. We also have History Scribe’s North American Indians notebooking papers which we may use some of as well.

To wrap up our study we’ll be enjoying The Little House On The Prairie dvd put out by Disney. Don’t mock it too much if you haven’t seen it, it’s quite true to the book compared to the tv show which was quite interesting. We actually rented it a few years ago and the buys were glued to it despite it’s length. Wolves, Indians, adventure around every corner, and covered wagons. What’s not to like?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Home Sweet Home

There's nothing quite like returning home from camping, is there? We've spent the last 5 days camping and enjoying every single drop of sunshine and fresh air we could. In fact, I'm now sporting an unusual tan due to the constant use of sunglasses. Sorry, no pictures I'm a tad to vain I guess.. The boys loved every minute of it, okay so maybe not that minutes when we were deleeching them and there was much screaming and tears and salt and then great pops when the leeches were chucked into the fire, but the rest they raved about. There feet may never be pink again, the smell of camp fire may never completely part ways with our clothing and hair, and I'm pretty sure sticky marshmallow is forever encrusted upon our clothes, but the memories of such things are far too great to care.

We had amazing weather, for which we are extremely grateful even though it's looking like rain for the rest of the week ahead. We saw the most amazing Australian robin and debated it's name before deciding it was most certainly a flame robin. His striking red chest was just downright breath taking. Mind you, I still think Australian robins fit into the sparrow category as they are small and dainty with strikingly vivid marks. All the same.. I had great fun watching the Blue Fairy Wren hop along as if he hadn't a care in the world before trying to snitch a bit of dog food, and his funny little mate which I kept mistaking for a sparrow seemed to be in on the game.

We had a visit from a very brave Mamma possum too. Her tummy was so very big and we could see her pouch moving as she stared at us and our overly nosey camera. (Pictures to come...) She too enjoyed the dog food, and at this point I'm still wondering if the dog ate any of it considering he was busy chomping on watermelon and sausage rolls.

We hiked a new trail to the top and bottom of the water falls this year, and the boys were delighted when they were told we could each have a few sips of the icy water. They were equally delighted to be told they could play on the rocks and in the shallow water, and quite shocked when they realized just how cold that water really was too!

So much fun and, despite the tummy aches, they are still talking about it and wondering how long until we return again. Lots of photos too, so you'll have to wait for those until they've all been sorted out. Lots of laundry dirtied, school plans sorted, brains refreshed, feet dirtied, and new family stories made.. It's been dubbed the best family camp yet, and we can't wait for next year!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sum Math Game

That card book I checked out of the library had another fun game in it, one that challenged the boys a bit more then the clock game did. This one is called Sum. The object of the game is to have the most cards at the end of the game, but that doesn't always make you the winner. Cards are giving a point value as well, but you'll get an extra bonus if you have the most cards at the end of this game. This game was a little tricky at first, but the boys quickly caught on. It was also good practice on addition without ever knowing what digits you'll be adding up. This keeps you on your toes. For little ones it tends to be more of a number recognition, but that's okay too. Because this is a two player game, the first couple of times we played it we teamed up with the boys to help them understand how to play. Again, all you need is a deck of cards with the jokers removed. Shuffle your cards.

Deal 11 cards to each player then lay 6 cards face up in the middle of the play area:

The player who did not deal out the cards goes first. Let's say that player #2 is up first and happens to hold a 10 in his hand. He can then match his 10 with: 10, 5+5; 7+3.He picks up all those cards and sets them off to the side. A player can match with a direct number or with a group of numbers that equal a card he is holding. A player can take as many cards as they can match at one time:

Play continues this way until all the cards played on the table are used up or no one is able to go. Then the dealer deals out the remaining cards as they did at the beginning of the game (6 on the table; 11 to each player) and the game continues until once again all cards are used up or no one is able to make a move. Then each player tallies up his or her own points. It may be easier to have a bit of paper on hand for this part. Points are awarded as follows:

1 point for each numbered card (2-10); 2 points for face cards (J, Q, K, Aces); 5 points for every 7 points you win; Person with the most cards gets a bonus of 10 points. Tally up the points and the person with the most points is the official winner. Play your cards wisely to gain more face cards, they're worth more. Use more cards to equal a number on the playing field, more cards equal that 10 point bonus!