Friday, October 28, 2011

Weekly School Summary - Brazil (October 24-28)

Soprano's Wise Owl saying activity
I respectfully ask that you not pin pictures of my children to Pinterest. Thank you!
We took off on Monday since we were making the drive back from New York. It was nice to have pre-arranged our schedule to allow for a day off and not have to do any schoolwork in the car. After we got home, unpacked the car, and started attacking the laundry (aka Mount Washmore), I was able to quick get the younglings' workboxes set up for Tuesday.

Here's what we did:
Math: Similar to usual. They each had 4 days of lessons to compensate for the days we had off.

Reading and Language Arts: Soprano continued with Owl Moon  from 'Across the Centuries.' She made an owl puppet and owl mask and created a 'wise owl' saying. We did a creative writing exercise on 'Why the Owl Says Whoo' also.
She progressed through her Phonics book, one day's lesson at a time with only a few errors.
Her English work is definitely improving and there were no tears this week! That's a huge praise!
Since we were coming off of a long weekend away, I decided to hold off on introducing spelling for either kid until next week.

Tenor continued with his 'A Reason for Handwriting C' and 'Writing Strands.'
We also did some more work in "A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe" from 'Across the Centuries C Level 1.' He read chapters 6-8 with some vocab word study, a verse decoding activity, and a creative writing exercise (writing a letter to Edmund.)
He's doing well with his new English (Rod and Staff Level 4). 
Since my time in the morning is spent helping Soprano, I usually make him do the oral portion of his lesson as written work instead. The lessons are short enough that it's not too overwhelming for him and it's additional handwriting practice.

Typer Island for their typing instruction and continuing with SOS Elementary Spanish.

They did a health worksheet about different types of germs.

Phys Ed.: The first thing they did when we got home was get on their bikes. They stacked some wood for dad and helped rake leaves too.

Bible: This week included:
Reading about Columbia
Reading Matthew 5:43-48 and 6:1-18
Memorizing Matthew 5:14

Geography: Stamping our passports to enter Brazil (and South America.)
Playing the geography game with our new mnemonic devices.
'Very Good Students Frequently Bake Bread and Pick Up' and for the west coast 'Cows Eat Pretty Clover'.
Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guinea, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile
Doing the Brazil crossword puzzle.

Tenor also used a book I found at the library called 'How To Draw Brazil's Sights and Symbols' to create the Brazilian flag and other famous landmarks.
Tenor's pages from World Geography this week were 'Physical Features of South America', 'Rivers of South America', 'Mountains of South America', and 'Bodies of Water in South America.' They also did their vocabulary card this week (zone.)

Science: Discussion on rain forests--- tropical rain forests and their locations and rain forest plants. They also did their nature study again this week. Soprano's was too funny not to share. She writes:
"Birds are cute. cute. cute. cute. soft and fuzy. soft soft soft.
They come in all the colors. [sic]"

Soprano worked on more Insect sheets from The Complete Book of Animals.

Other MFW: Wee sing: Brown Girl in the Ring and Ciranda
For more music, I found the Brazilian Channel on Pandora and played that in the background during school time. I also hunted up some youtube clips of bossa nova and samba dancing. Disclaimer: Samba doesn't always allow for the most modest costuming so preview before you show your kids.
Since I'm not really loving the Global Art book, our art project was another substitution.... we made a TP Quetzal bird. I got the instructions here:
It was a pretty easy week which was nice to return to after our trip. We've still got some fall house projects underway so I had a little time to work on those. Hopefully, we'll get the yard cleaned up before our first snow. They're calling for anywhere from 3-5" or 6-10". In October! That's unusual for our area. We'll see....
I had time to plan out what we will potentially need for next year's curriculum (if all continues in the same way.) That way I can keep my eyes open for bargains in the next few months to try to save some money.
I also started compiling their state-required portfolios. I have all their logs and a few samples from each subject filed in their portfolio binders. I'd hate to leave that until the end of the year! I'd be buried under a mountain of paper! And my file box was getting heavy. :)

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Fall.... Finally

I had 2 easy, quick projects to do to complete my fall decor this year. I finished one back in the middle of September but the other just drug on and on. Now that I've finally finished them both, I'm done decorating for fall. Perfect timing, too, since they're calling for 3-5" of snow this weekend. (which is NOT normal for southeast PA!)

Here are our fall updates:
Fall 5-minute pillow covers (made the same way as these)
The striped pillows are also 5-minute pillow covers. The center embroidered pillow is actually a placemat ($2.50 on sale at Kohl's) that I opened up, stuffed, and sewed closed.

Viney pumpkins that I've had in my stash forever are on the bay window sill. (Check out the new windows too!!)
Candle holders (uber cheap) from Christmas Tree Shops

And then the projects.... I wanted to alter a fake pumpkin that I've had in my to-do pile for the past 4 years. Years ago, I had seen a really cute project where they mod-podged squares of coordinating fall scrapbook paper onto a pumpkin and then lightly distressed it. I had never been able to find the right paper so the sad little pumpkin just sat and sat. I decided to just go for it this year but didn't want to go with the traditional orange since our living room has more of a beach cottage color scheme. I ended up using left over sheet music from the wreath project. After I covered the pumpkin with sheet music, I painted over the whole thing with blue.
Epic fail! (What is up with me and sheet music anyways!)
The paint was too dark and not the right shade of blue for the living room. So I re-covered the pumpkin again. This time I left some of the blue peeking through and then washed over it with a light apple green color. Much better! It coordinates better with the little pumpkins I got at Christmas Tree Shops.
Project #1 complete.
Then I decided I needed a fall-ish banner for the mantel. After scads of pinterest and blog searching, I opted for something with burlap. And then life happened, and the project didn't. After a month of interruptions, I finally finished it yesterday!
Here are the basic steps:
#1 I cut my burlap into rectangles and sewed a 1" pocket (like a curtain rod pocket)
#2 I zig-zagged around the edges at .5" to help stop fraying
#3 I cut 4 1/2" letters out of scrap cardstock with my Cricut (using Stone Script font)

#4 I used dark brown, acrylic craft paint and a foam brush to stencil the letters. (I used an up and down pouncing motion, being careful to press the stencil edges down as I went along to help prevent bleeding.)

#5 I let it dry.
#6 I picked it up and realized that I should have had something underneath while painting. (Slapping forehead!)

#7 I threaded brown ric-rac trim through the pocket and tied a loop at each end to hang it.
#8 Enjoying the finished product.
I did a little tablescape in the dining room to add some fall touches there too.

And our newest addition.....a bird feeder right outside the dining room window. The kids have been keeping a count of the types of birds that have already stopped by for a treat. We've seen robins, blue jays, chickadees, and cardinals.
Finally, the house is dressed for fall!

and here:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weekly School Summary - Canada (October 17-21)

I respectfully ask that you not pin pictures of my children to Pinterest. Thank you!
Observing at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY
Another week flies by! We had 3 school days planned in order to head to the Adirondacks to visit my sister for a few days.

Here's what we did:
Math: Almost the same as usual. They each did 3 lessons this week to adjust the schedule for our mini fall break and trip.

Reading and Language Arts: Soprano had her final evaluation for Ira Sleeps Over (reading from 'Across the Centuries') and began her next book, Owl Moon. She completed a worksheet and did a word search based on the book. We had a couple of corrections on her already completed pages in her Phonics book, and we got through the first unit in her Rod and Staff English.
Since we're still waiting on Tenor's new Rod and Staff English and Spelling to arrive, we continued with 'A Reason for Handwriting C' and 'Writing Strands' this week. We also continued with his first reading selection from 'Across the Centuries C Level 1.' He read chapters 3-5 of "A Lion, A Witch, and A Wardrobe" with some vocab word study and worksheets.

Typer Island for their typing instruction and continuing with SOS Elementary Spanish.

They did a health worksheet about spreading germs.

Phys Ed.: More bike and scooter riding and some leaf raking.
Raking leaves with Aunt Kim
I arranged our schedule this week to have 3 days of Language Arts, Math, and Electives because of our trip but we brought our books along so that we could still finish up Canada by the end of the week. We skipped the extra activity and the cooking but on our 7-hour car trip, we listened to Anne of Green Gables on CD and watched the DVD at my sister's house.

Bible: This week included:
Reading about Greenland
Reading Matthew 5:27-42
Memorizing Matthew 5:12
Reading about George Muller (His testimony of reliance on God's provision has fascinated me for years and is such an encouragement. I started to cry while reading the story about the breakfast at the orphanage.)
Our Canadian "feast": Timbits from Tim Horton's on our way home from NY
Geography: Another week in Canada. Discussion about the nature, farming, and industry of Canada and the French language. I tried to call up my 2 pitiful years of Junior High French to squeak out some pronunciation. Fortunately, the younglings looked suitably impressed and wouldn't know otherwise. We played the geography game again this time with candy corn for markers.

They also did their vocabulary card this week (continental divide.)
Science: This week we started talked about plant life, and showed how trees draw nutrients up their trunks by observing celery. Getting that celery was quite the expedition. I don't know if it's just the pre-Christmas retail slump, a sign on our declining economy, or a bigger population in our area, but the shelves are more and more empty lately. My desperate trip to the grocery store late Sunday night for celery was in vain. Bass had to run out to another store to find some. It wasn't a big deal but I'm finding more and more often that when I go shopping I can't get the items I'm looking for.
We observed our celery on a worksheet I made up. You can get one here: celery experiment sheet.
Another of my 'failed' science experiments. I can't even rig it to make it give us the intended results when I know what the results are supposed to be.
We did read the Animal Life section from Living World although I covered up the bottom of the left page and skipped over the reproduction section. We also read about Relationships Among Living Things. Soprano started the Insect sheets from The Complete Book of Animals. She loves doing them and was disappointed that I didn't assign any during our trip. I know MFW says that all sheets don't need to be completed but I think we'll try to fit them in because she enjoys them so much.

Other MFW: Wee sing: Going Over the Sea.
We were going to do the leaf print art activity but ran out of time this week. We had other activities planned for our trip to New York so I'm okay with skipping this one this week.

We didn't have a super exciting week of school work but our mini field trip made up for it. We've had great plans for mountain hikes, homemade pizza, and a trip to a natural science museum.
We spent Friday at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, New York. It was a really cool and well designed natural museum. We watched several short films in their theater, spent some money in the gift shop, and had a few terrific hours exploring and learning. The best part were the 2 river otters, Louis and Remy. They were too fast for me to get any pictures of them though.
Touching the clouds
Meeting Stickley, a 20 lb porcupine
A Coral Mushroom (that pink thing)
Who Eats What activity

Walking in a peat moss bog
Brook Trout
On Saturday, we went horseback riding with some of my sister's friends and then had some awesome pancakes with real maple syrup. After an afternoon nap and yummy dinner of homemade pizza, we went to an itty-bitty theater and saw Dolphin Tale. It is a super sweet movie about Winter, a rescued dolphin with a prosthetic tail.
We enjoyed the Sunday service at Kim's church and lunch with some of her friends afterwards. Then the kids helped her rake leaves, and we carved pumpkins. After dinner, Soprano went to bed while Tenor played a game of War with Aunt Kim.
Unfortunately, he received a minor war wound. He had lost several of his best cards in a 'war' and in frustration threw his head backwards. He smacked it right on the edge of the wooden futon frame and gashed the back of his head pretty bad. Since it was a Sunday night and she lives more than an 1 hour from the nearest hospital, we decided to do our own first aid. A butterfly bandage or several stitches probably would have been better but it wasn't bleeding too much just continually. We applied pressure and then wrapped his head with gauze and tape.

His only comment was, "You're not going to put this on Facebook, are you, Mom?" HaHa
Of course, I am. :)
A pictorial "war" reenactment

Other than the rough ending to our trip, we had a great visit!

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

New Door --- Finally!

What a relief! We finally had the time, weather, inclination, and time to tackle the house exterior. Our poor house was previously owned by an elderly woman who in her old age and advancing Alzheimer's wasn't able to care for it. She also became a recluse several years prior to selling and wouldn't allow anyone in to help. The outdoor trim was in such bad shape that every time you'd walk in the door, a shower of peeling paint chips would follow you.
Bass took a week of vacation to tackle some of the more time-consuming projects that he hadn't gotten to yet. On the "October List", as we started calling it, we planned to:
Replace the last 2 windows
Scrape, sand, prime, and paint all exterior trim, shutters, and garage door
Power wash the house, swing set, and garage floor and
Replace the front door (you know, the one with the crack in it)

Now for the picture proof that we got it all done!
BEFORE: back steps (totally slimy!)

AFTER: clean, ugly bushes removed, new windows, fresh paint
 AFTER: clean and painted; I even spray painted the super rusty railing.
AFTER: New double hung windows in the dining room (facing the back yard)

AFTER: back side of house

BEFORE: East side
AFTER: clean, dead bush and branches removed, new slider window
AFTER: old, icky shutters removed

BEFORE: West side (by garage); branches and compost pile in the side driveway
AFTER: washed, new windows, small perennial planting bed

BEFORE: Peeling garage door overgrown with evergreens
AFTER: bye bye bushes, hello garage. 

Our neighbor was amazed that we found a garage door that matched our shutter color. He thought we had put in a new aluminum garage door. Amazing what a couple coats of paint will do!
BEFORE: Peeling paint everywhere, slightly hidden behind scary bushes.

AFTER: Fresh paint, new windows, new landscaping.

BEFORE: front of house in there somewhere
MID-PAINT: I was trying to decide whether or not to paint the garage white or brown so I snapped this pic to help me decide.
MID-PAINT: Everything primed but needing some color.
AFTER: Finally finished painting!

BEFORE: Peeling paint, crack in the door, nasty step. Ick!

AFTER: I painted the trim behind the faux pillars with brown to make the pillars stand out more. I don't love the shade of blue that I used on the front door so I might have the store retint it a shade darker and try again.

And one last before and after:

Such a big change! It was a lot of work but totally worth it.
Still on the list for outside: replace the light post in the little bed next to the driveway,
repave or resurface the driveway
replace the back door
add a motor to the garage door
add a few plants (and bulbs) to the garden beds
and someday replace the roof.
Maybe we'll just save all that for next October.

Linking up here.
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