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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Our Winter Vegetable Garden

For those of you that read this blog on a regular basis, you know I have been working on getting vegetables to grow for the past several Summers. Our Summer garden was a bust. I did get to eat one tomato and something else ate the others. Same with the cucumbers. The biggest issue in the summer, is not only the heat, but the bugs that eat the plants. Since I am trying to grow without the use of pesticides it is quite a challenge. So, I decided we could try a Winter garden, when most of the insects and other pests are hibernating. I will tell you about each item below. I did not take pictures of our flowers, but most of them are thriving quite nicely. If I did not mention in previous posts, any natural garbage, like peelings, coffee grounds, etc, I save and then toss around the bases of the plants. This adds much needed nutrients to our awful dirt, without any added expense. Roses especially need extra potassium so potato peels and banana peels are awesome for them. We also have a rabbit, some of you know that, and when we dump his potty pan, we use it as a fertilizer for the plants. This actually works quite awesome.

Those are two of the four largest tomatoes.  I just found four or five more starting, and lots of buds.  Now this is peculiar to me, because tomatoes like it hot, hot, hot.  And while it has been warm here and there it definitely is not hot.  Tomatoes will not grow below 50, so at night I take the whole plant into the garage where it sleeps.  This plant is the same plant I had over the Summer months, and I just keep letting it grow.
That is a broccoli head starting to grow.  It is very small right now, but I am hoping soon we can eat it.  I had two other broccoli plants as well, but they didn't make it.  That too is quite peculiar, because I planted them at the same time, in the same dirt with all the same everything. 
These are peas.  I picked three today, that I will eat at some point.  There are at least ten others that are not quite ready to pick.  These were made from seeds, and peas seem to do quite well here.  No one really likes peas, but me, but these are sugar snap peas and I think they will note a big difference.  Peas will continue to grow, I am told, as long as I keep them picked.
These are carrots, again from seeds.  They are not ready yet, but I am hoping within a couple of weeks they will be.  These do quite well also, and we planted more seeds.  Behind you can see the beginnings of more pea plants that we planted just maybe a week ago.  There is also onions, but I am not sure if you can see them.  Hopefully they too will be ready in a couple of weeks.
That is one little tiny lettuce plant.  They say lettuce grows quite well, but it is very fussy.  It needs to be almost constantly moist in the dirt.  Though I do water every day, it seems to need more.  It is finally starting to grow a bit more now.  We planted these from seeds but only the one plant is growing.  I am hoping to get at least some lettuce.  We eat a lot of lettuce.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas from Melissa's Homeschool!

Whew I am always glad when Christmas is over! The past few years both of the kids have slept in late, and I was able to wake up and get oriented before they got up. Not this year! What is up with that? They are older, it shouldn't be hard to get them to go to bed and sleep in. Caitlin especially did not want to go to bed this year, and they were both up at six.

Here at our house we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but we also do Santa. I see no reason why you can't do both. In honor of the birth of Jesus, we did a Wise Man Christmas. I have said we would do this other years, and just could never do it. This year I stuck to the three gift rule, from Santa parents, and it was so nice. It didn't take hours to shop, wrap, hide and clean up. Plus, to me it is so special when you teach them that Jesus was given three gifts the day he was born, from the three wise men, and that is why you should get only three gifts. Of course, with all the other gifts from friends and relatives, they get way more than three, but from Mom and Dad Santa, there were three. We also did a family gift, which I will get to in another post.

I didn't get my favorite apps posted yet, but I will. And I have some other things to share as well. Things should be winding down now, and I will get to relax a bit. I have a report card to do, for DJ, and I am working on tons of craft ideas. I am also revising some of our curriculum, and I can't believe the school is half over already.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Is Almost Here, Already!

I really can not believe that Christmas is almost here, already. I think next year I will put my tree up earlier. It just doesn't seem like it has been there that long. I love my tree, and all the decorations.

Each year we take the kids to see Christmas lights. Last year we went to a very fancy one, where you could walk or drive, and we went on a horse carriage ride. It was fun, and it was very expensive! So, this year we went to the next city over, which happens to be Gainesville. We ate dinner at Applebees, not inexpensive, but we do that each year, and plan for it. This was my first time eating at Applebees. I think I like it better than any of the other places we have eaten. The Napa Valley Chicken and Portabello Mushrooms were to die for. We even had dessert, which normally we do not. Then off to find some lights. At first it was kind of lame, couldn't find much of anything. Then I remembered a friend of mine had said to go to N Florida Hospital, and walk around the lake. It is just a small lake, probably a pond, but the decorations were marvelous and Christmas music too. It was free, so that is always nice. It was freezing, however. I was the only one who didn't bring a coat, argh! Then we went to a fancy housing complex, trust me it is fancy, and they had a mini Candy Land display with Christmas lights. The kids got to play on the playground and it was nice and cute, small but lovely. Then home for a hot shower for me. After defrosting it was just about time for bed.

My husband and I both got tablets for Christmas. We have been using them though, LOL! I have to say there are some really cool apps, and then some really dumb ones. This weekend I will share some of my favorites that are educational and fun. If you have some apps you love, please share. Right now I am going for the free ones, but I have seen some paid ones that I am considering getting as well. Mostly educational ones. If I forget and do not get back on here, I hope everyone has a blessed and very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Do You Like Boogers?

If yes, then you should have been at my house since Saturday.  Both kids have caught a cold.  Matter of fact, every year in December, they catch a cold.  Wanna know why?  Because other people whose children have excess boogers, fevers, snot, coughs and congestion refuse to keep their kids home.  Then their kids touch all the goodies and utensils at parties and then everyone else gets it too.  So, this week my kids are ill and all the things we were supposed to do are not being done.  Why?  Because we keep our germs to ourselves.  Tomorrow is supposed to be a volunteer day.  I have no idea if we will be doing this either.  Depends on how much, or how little the boogers are.  I also have to finish Christmas shopping tomorrow, and out to dinner Friday and then Christmas lights.  I hope everyone is better by then.  Lucky for me and my husband, we have not caught it.  I did however have a massive migraine two weekends ago, and a killer toothache last weekend, so I have had my fair share.  So, my very crazy week has turned out to be a relaxing, stay in bed and rest kind of week.  I guess I will stop complaining now, LOL!  I hope your week is going well.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Guns and Control

I don't even know what to say anymore.  I have had my own issues with guns, safety and my personal reasons for not wanting my children around them.  Yesterday, in CT, a young man entered an elementary school and proceeded to kill 20 children, and 6 adults.  That was after he had already killed his mother at home.  Now, I believe the fundamental right to own a gun is a right that should be honored.  I also believe that outlawing this right would serve no purpose to keep guns out of the hands of those that wish to do harm to others.  However, I also believe something needs to change.  Every week now there is a new shooting at a mall, movie theater, school or other public event.  This can not continue.  It is my understanding these guns belonged to the mother that was killed.  She owned quite an arsenal of guns.  Last time I checked you can only shoot one gun at a time, maybe two if you are super skilled.  Why was this allowed?  Why should the general public need to own an arsenal of guns?  Why is this not a red flag to someone?  Second guns that shoot multiple rounds of shots at a time really should not be owned by the general public either.  What is the reason for it?   Just because the Constitution says you should have the right to own a gun does not mean it is relevant to all types of guns and weapons.  It is simply absurd, in my opinion.  I can not imagine how these poor children will ever feel safe going to school again.  The trauma and fear they must have.  This school had high tech safety equipment, and the young man was not granted entrance to the school.  So, he shot out windows to get in.  The school tried to keep the children safe, and with his use of his weapons, he gained entrance anyways.  It is all very sad for everyone involved.  Yes, here in America you have the fundamental right to own a gun.  That doesn't mean everyone should own guns or have as many, or any type that they see fit.  Go back to muskets where it takes a little while to load and shoot, then they can't kill a whole room of people within 5 minutes before someone can get to them.  It is still a gun, it is well within the rights of owning it, but mass murder won't be so easy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Charity Garage Sale, Alligators, and Write A Letter To Jesus

We got so much done today! The weekend was a complete bust due to a massive migraine that I was blessed with. But, I got a lot of extra sleep. Not much else you can do, when you can't even keep your eyes open due to light sensitivity.

This Thursday is our 4H Holiday Bake Off and Christmas party. I will share the recipes later in the week, after we get pictures. This morning we went for our morning walk, and stopped by the 4H Extension Office. The kids had entered some items into the N Florida Fair, and we wanted to pick them up. Much to our surprise both kids had one first and second place, and even won some money. How excited they were! Then we took some holiday pictures, well we did have Santa hats on.

I can not believe, in my migraine stupor, that I forgot to tell you about our charity garage sale last Thursday. It was very successful and we raised about 115 dollars for the not for profit org. called 4 Pets Sake. This was done through our Earth Kids group, and the kids all worked very hard. Who knew a garage sale was so much work!

We got in a full day of school today, and at the garage sale a mom had donated a nature journal type education book. I jumped on it, and am proud to say we are already using it. DJ will be doing a writing assignment tomorrow from the view point of an alligator. This was an idea in the book, but you can try it too. Plus, a friend of ours shared a topic where instead of writing a letter to Santa, you write a letter to Jesus. Caitlin already wrote her letter to Santa, but DJ who no longer believes in Santa, will be writing a letter to Jesus. I am interested to see what he writes. He has an interesting sense of humor when he writes.

Well that is it for today. Hope everyone had a fabulous Monday!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A More Normal School Week

Last week was a crazy, yet fun week.  I left off with Wednesday, which was horseback riding lessons.  On Thursday we did some traditional book work schooling.  We still had to catch up, so not a lot got accomplished.  Friday was supposed to be a park day, couldn't do that, and a Christmas party, didn't do that either.  Due to a death, that was very unexpected, with the fire dept family, the Christmas party was canceled.  We did have friends over Friday night, to sit around the fire, a few cocktails and just plain fun.  I could feel a migraine coming on Friday afternoon.  But, I was hoping it would go away, but it didn't.  By Saturday I was suffering a full blown migraine.  I really hate migraines.  I can barely function when I have one, and it just doesn't work for me.  I am in no way used to just lying around and or sleeping all day.  Today it is better, but still there.  I do have to make an appt to be seen, though the last time they were this bad I got no answers, but at least I can get my prescription refilled.  I also have a tooth bothering me.  Why not right?  We do have dental, but it will take me forever to get seen.  So, I am still contemplating what to do with it.  Back to normal tomorrow, I hope.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Horseback Riding Lessons

I had mentioned a couple of months ago, that friends of ours own horses, and my kids wanted to learn to ride. They had a beginner care class, back then, and today was the day to start learning to ride. In return, I will share my knowledge of jewelry making and painting, with them. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm. First they had to brush the horses and get the saddles ready. Since Caitlin does not yet have the strength DJ assisted Faith in carrying and applying the equipment to the horses. You need a lot of strength to properly apply the bridle and saddle. Then some instructions on steering and commanding the horse. Then they were up and ready to ride. Both kids were led around first, then shortly they were comfortable doing it themselves. I was so proud of both of them. Caitlin especially seemed to immediately bond with the horse. She is my reserved, easily scared child, but she acted like she had been around horses her whole life. I did get on, and walk around, led by the trainer, but didn't go on my own. It felt so odd and unnatural to me. Next time I will try to be more brave and do it on my own. Oh to be young and fearless again.

Yesterday, we went Christmas shopping with my Mom and out to lunch. The kids always enjoy this each year.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Winter Theme Homeschool Art Class

I finally took pictures of the items we painted on Monday. We do a lot of Christmas crafts, this time of year, and I wanted a general theme this time. So, I picked Winter, as the theme. Each child could choose whatever they wanted as long as Winter was somehow incorporated into it. DJ, with his ever humorous self, drew the Abominable Snowman having a snowball fight with Rudolph. He used colored pencils to fill in the color. Caitlin, who seems to always focus on animals, painted a white wolf playing in the snow. As for me, I got this silver tray at a garage sale, and I painted on a Winter scene, with of course Santa and his sleigh. I still have one more coat to apply to the accents on the house, the snowflakes, and the writing, then it has to be sealed. The reindeer were extremely difficult, and I actually ended up lightly drawing them in pencil, then painting them in with a very fine script liner painting brush. I believe painting on objects is referred to as Tole Painting, and I very much love it. Better than art paper or canvas. I am currently working on upcycled jars that I am painting on and turning into candles, as Christmas gifts for friends. I will share them soon. Hopefully I will finish them Monday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

We Got Toads In Odd Places!

Well, I was going to share with you today our Winter theme, art projects, from Monday. But, either I forgot to take the pictures, I highly doubt that, or someone accidentally erased them, I don't have pictures. But, don't worry I will get some. We have started doing some kind of Art project each Monday. Now Art at my house can mean, drawing, painting, crafts, jewelry making, cleaning, gardening just about anything. But each Monday we do something. So, you will just have to wait. Next Monday is about the only normal school day we will have. We will be on vacation from school books next week. All unschooling, well except for FLVS Science. DJ does have to do at least three assignments, but that is no big deal.

So, anyways, since it is obviously never going to rain again here in Florida. I have to water our garden every day. We have roses, hibiscus, banana tree, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, broccoli and peas. So far the winter garden is going much better than the Summer one did. I bring the tomato plant in at night, to the garage, so hopefully it will survive and maybe even give me a tomato or two over the Winter. I moved two of the broccoli plants today, because they were not doing nearly as the one that was in a different location. So now they are all together. It was freezing the other day, and even though I covered the banana tree, hibiscus and poinsettia plants, the poor banana tree still got some freezer burn. But, it should survive. We have peppers growing too, but they must not take kindly to the cold either. They look a little wimpy today. Anyway, it warmed up nicely the past two days, and the toads have decided it must be Spring. I recycle or reuse old plastic containers to plant small plants in. This one has carrots trying to grow in it. I went to water it this morning and I thought a leaf was in there. So, naturally I stuck my hand in to take the leaf out and much to my surprise it wriggled at me. It was a big old brown toad in the container sitting on my carrots. They go in the silliest places. Well Caitlin didn't like him in there so she moved him, and he went under the house. Hopefully he won't come in the house. Do you have a Winter garden? I want to try herbs too, I just forget to buy the seeds. I do have some Garlic trying to grow. Garlic and Onions are easy you just throw the ends of your fresh garlic and chopped off onion end into some dirt and they pretty much grow on their own. I forgot about the onions. Maybe someday we could actually live off our harvest. Right now it is mainly just a once in a while snack, LOL! We do have flowers on our pea plants though, fingers crossed.

I watched the Dust Bowl, last week, from PBS. I am convinced this will be Florida soon if we don't get some moisture. Of course I have no idea, but it has not rained here at my house in over a month.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

OK, so I am late for one and early for the other. I was so tired yesterday, that I didn't feel like doing much. Sleep has not been my friend lately, not sure why, but I am miserable when I don't sleep. I slept awesome last night though.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, as I hope everyone else did as well. It was warm, and everyone was peaceful, full and happy. Thanksgiving night, instead of washing dishes, we always put up the Christmas trees. Yes, I finally have two trees, and still had ornaments left over. This year I decided to make the small tree into an Angel Tree. All the ornaments are angels, except our dog's name tag, who is in Heaven so technically an angel. There are small pink ornaments to add color. I love it! The big tree the kids decorated this year, pretty much by themselves. They are getting pretty good at it now. In years past, all the ornaments they hung were all at the bottom, or clustered in just one spot. I would always have to go back and rearrange when they weren't looking, LOL! We have watched several Christmas special already, and it isn't even December yet. I swear it starts earlier and earlier. There are not many new specials that I like. I pretty much love the classics. Do you have a favorite Christmas special?

The other picture is of the Turkey cake the kids and I made. My kids don't care much for pie, though we are supposed to make one Wednesday of next week, so I always come up with a cake to make. This year I did a turkey cake. The kids do a lot of the work, and I frost. I made two round cakes. Then when cool cut out a circle for the head. Then using DJ's hand we cut out fingers on the second cake, inserted them where the head was cut out, and voila you have feathers. Then I frost a light layer, freeze it, then frost again in the morning. Note if you need to move the cake, so it has better presentation than mine, frost and then move before it thaws too much. I couldn't move mine because I needed something from the store, and it thawed too much by the time I finished frosting. The cake will break if it thaws too much. Anyway I learn something new every time I do a cake. Sorry for the messy demo shot, it was delicious though.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Butterflies, Rudolph and Fingerprints

This is a different kind of school week for us. Because we are getting ready for the big holiday, and I still want to do school. We will be doing half days of traditional school, and then half days of fun stuff.

Today, the kids both had to do Math, and Caitlin did Head of the Class, and DJ did his Virtual School Science. If I had my way they would do Math everyday.

The second half of the day was dedicated to Arts and Crafts. DJ and Caitlin designed their own Advent Calendar this year. Drawing and coloring Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. They then made 25 circles in the center of his nose. Each day a colored pom pom will be glued to a circle, so his nose won't actually be red, LOL! Then I wanted to make thumbprint reindeer ornaments. So, DJ went first, and for some reason he put his thumbprint at an angle instead of straight up and down. So, I decided to add another thumbprint and make those their ears, then paint on the faces and horns. You can see the results below. It is actually hard to see the thumbprints in the pictures. My one eye ran so my reindeer is crying, or her makeup got smudged. O got the idea from Pinterest, and you can find it on my board with the original website and project there on my Artsy Fartsy Board.  There is a thumbprint Christmas Tree craft too, and lots of other adorable crafts. The final project was getting out all the Christmas decorations from the closet. Caitlin had a good old time arranging the stockings and various Santas I have collected over the years. We don't actually decorate until Thanksgiving night. That is our tradition.

The few minutes that it was warm out, and the neighbors were not burning, Caitlin went out to play in the backyard. Since she is doing a butterfly book for 4H, she has been doing a lot of observing of butterflies. Today she saw the one shown below. We have never actually seen one of these in our yard, or anywhere else. It is an Eastern Comma Butterfly and it migrates south for the winter, or hibernates up north. Habitat is said to be with Elm trees, deciduous trees and wet swampy areas. We definitely have none of those things in our backyard, LOL! So, I guess he was just taking a rest on his journey elsewhere. We do have a Cypress tree that does shed its leaves, but not technically deciduous I don't think anyways.

What did you do today? What traditions does your family have on Thanksgiving? Please share.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Advent Calendars, Crochet and Bowling

Every year the kids and I do an Advent Calendar. Last year we did one with ornaments we painted. This year, I was having a hard time finding one we had not already done. So, I challenged the kids to come up with one. I think we have finally decided on one. A few months ago my mom gave us a tin full of stuff you might consider junk. There were some of those fluffy ball things in there, a whole package of them. DJ decided he would draw Rudolph's head, with an over sized nose, make 25 circles on his nose, and then each day glue on a different colored ball. He will be Rudolph the multi colored nosed reindeer, LOL. We are supposed to work on that tomorrow, but Friday's don't always go as planned.

Now that my online job has dried up, I find I have lots more free time to do things I was always too tired to do before. So now I am re-teaching myself to crochet. Since I don't follow written directions well, they just make no sense to me, I frequently make up my own patterns and then by trial and error I get something done. I have already completed 2 baby snuggies with hats, and am working on a third. Plus I started a after bath baby blanket and wash cloth that I am excited about, and have another pattern in mind for something very useful in cool. This dress shown below, was made for my daughter. She asked me if I could make a Leopard print dress. I tried to find patterns, but really had no luck, unless I wanted something extremely hard, which I didn't. So this is my own pattern, and if I do say so myself it is pretty darn good. She was very happy and can't wait to wear it. I continue to paint as well, at least once a week, sometimes more, read, and of course there is all this homeschooling and teaching going on. We are also doing a winter vegetable garden, which so far is going good. No veggies yet, but I am optimistic. It is super dry here, no rain in three weeks, so that always poses a problem.

I am hoping we are joining a homeschool bowling league. We have been members of this one homeschool group well over a year, but we never can fit their schedule into ours. But, once a month, on a Thurs. I hope they will be going bowling, and the fee is cheap considering. We do have to drive a bit to get there, but not too far, and I think for DJ especially this will be awesome. Pray it all falls together nicely.

We shouldn't tell tall tales, right? Well unless it is a writing assignment by your teacher. DJ had just such an assignment from me this week. Hop over to his blog to check it out. Now, I have not checked his spelling and grammar yet, but what he read to me was really awesome.

Friday, November 9, 2012

First Quarter Report Card

The first quarter of school is complete, already! Argh it will be Christmas before I know it. Each year we do an Advent Calendar, and I am trying to find one for this year that we either have not done yet, or that I like. There is one for the Story of Christmas, that I really like, but it requires a lot of printing. So not sure yet if I am going to use that one. Caitlin did not want a paper report card, so I didn't make her one. She will be aggressively doing harder math, plus more math, and Language Arts which includes Writing. She is coming along nicely and her Spelling has already improved immensely.

Here are DJ's report card results:

Math: 83,this is a good grade for the harder Math he is doing, but he still makes silly mistakes on the basics.

Science: 91, this grade includes his FLVS Science, plus other Science he is assigned by me.

Health: 100, not a lot of graded work here. Most of his Health this year is being done on Plus we are doing First Aid with our 4H group.

Language Arts: 91, I am very happy about this grade. Language Arts includes Grammar, Spelling and Vocabulary.

Social Studies: 85, Somehow DJ has lost his third Story of the World book. I can't find it anywhere and I don't want to buy another. So for now he is just doing The Story of US book one. I really like this series and intend to buy book two next year. I still have to decide on World History, but I may have him do that through FLVS.

Reading: Very Good, no number grade for this one. He has already read two books, one chosen by me, the other himself. Plus other books he has read on his own. Reading is not a problem and his comprehension has improved so much. We are using Reading Vistas, the red book, and it is going quite well.

Writing: Very Good. He continues to grow in his writing skills.

Since I feel there is always room for improvement, for DJ I would like to see him bring his FLVS grade up to an A. I feel he can do this and he just needs to take a little more time and apply himself a little bit more. Since the FLVS uses a completely different type of teaching than me, it is taking a bit of adjusting, but I know he can do it. I would like his Math to be a B+ I also know he can do this. He is grasping it well, and just needs to be more careful when doing the actual work.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy!

After today we will be back to a more normal school schedule. One week after Superstorm Sandy, and still so many people are suffering, and pets too. If you can donate to the Red Cross, it would really be awesome.

My husband took vacation days on Friday and Monday, so school was sort of interrupted. The kids can't concentrate well when he is home, so we took Veteran's Day holiday today. It does not appear our small town is doing a parade this year, so we won't be going to that.

Friday was our first day volunteering at the local food drive. It was a lot of hard work, but very beneficial to all. They do this once a month and we hope to be able to help each month.

It warmed back up over the weekend, and the weather was just beautiful here in Florida. Only problem is we have had no rain at all in a whole month. We might get a bit tomorrow, but the drought needs much more than that. It has been a rough year for water here in Florida.

Don't forget to vote tomorrow! We have our Earth Kids meeting tomorrow eve as long as it is dry outside. If it rains we usually postpone it because we have meetings outdoors.

I decided I was going to paint on recycled jars and make them into candles, for some of my friends for Christmas. This is my first attempt at poinsettias, and they came out pretty good. I will continue to perfect them as I go along. I hope everyone will love them as much as I love making them. Have you started to think about Christmas yet? It will be here, unfortunately, before we know it. I do love Christmas, my favorite holiday by far.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Upcycling Project: Make Bowling Pins

Well it is freezing here, thanks to Superstorm Sandy. So far our family in NY has been untouched. I hope the same is true for our friends in the upstate area.

My mom gave me some plastic containers the other day. I thought, what am I supposed to do with these. Then I found the book 365 fun filled learning activities book, that had been given to me, and forgotten. In it was a way to play bowling with household items. So, I thought that is what I can do with those containers. So, I painted them, added some goofy faces, and after they have been lightly sealed I will fill them with sand. Then at the next park day we will be bowling for a class. Now that is cooler, did I mention too cold, we want to do more outside activities rather than indoor co-op days. Tues, Wed and Thurs are regular school days. Tonight is trick or treating and Friday is our volunteer day at the food pantry. This will be our first time volunteering with this particular group.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Themed Art Class

Even though we painted our pumpkins on Monday, we had Art Class with my Mom today. Halloween was the theme, for us, and mom painted flowers on Christmas ornaments. She is most comfortable with flowers, and usually sticks to that. Flowers are not my strong point, but I am improving. I had this huge pickle jar, and I painted a little girls witch, a black cat, and she is pulling her pumpkin in a wagon. It is not done yet. When I paint on glass, I like to add several layers to help make the paint more bright and a thicker coat. So. she will sit and wait until I return to her. I want to put Fall leaves all around it as well. This will become a seasonal vase, or a cookie jar, something like that. I won't sell it, because it will be way to expensive to ship. DJ drew, with colored pencils, a vampire hanging from a tree with a friendly owl. He is a super fast artist, and is always done way before anyone else. I don't know how he spits it out so fast, and it looks so awesome. Caitlin did a rock pumpkin, her words, with a black cat sitting on it, a dead tree with an owl, and a moon. She did really well. Her skills are improving all the time. She also is finishing sewing her doll blanket. We are starting to think about County Events for 4H. With the holidays coming, I have to stay on top of things and not get behind.

Tuesday was a regular day of school, and so will tomorrow be. Friday is test day, and movie day.  Oh and Caitlin got her new glasses.  No more red glasses.  I think I like these better.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Painted Pumpkins and Girly Scarecrows

Today we went for our morning walk, then DJ did Math and had his oral exam for FLVS Science class. He also had a writing assignment on his blog. Caitlin did a variety of things, but mostly cleaned her rabbit room and did chores that she didn't do the other day.

Then, after lunch, we painted our Halloween pumpkins. We did this last year too, but with a better outcome this year. I wanted mine pink. So, I put on a base coat of pink paint. Then I put on a bear outline, kind of panda bear looking. Then DJ distracted me, and got me laughing and poof I painted a goofy face right on the bear. Now it is a funny looking bear with a big face on its belly. Good thing it is Halloween, LOL! Caitlin did a cat, no surprises there, she loves cats. DJ's is typical of a boy. He painted a shirt, pants, bellybutton, and then on the back in a funny curve of the pumpkin where your pants might hang too low, something no one needs to ever see. LOL he is a jokester just like his dad.

Next, we raked leaves, and made a scarecrow. This is actually our first one. Caitlin wanted a girl scarecrow, and you can see the results. She now sits in our wheelbarrow, on a bed of leaves, with mine and Caitlin's pumpkins in the wheelbarrow with her. She refuses to sit with DJ's LOL! His is on the porch step. A fun day indeed! Do you make a scarecrow, carve pumpkins? Please share.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

4H, Hayrides and Birds of Prey

Yesterday, was our second 4H meeting of this new year. We are covering First Aid this year, and unbeknownst to me, I am teaching it. I thought I was just consulting and assisting, not teaching. Needless to say I felt out of sorts. The last picture is me, unfortunately. Thank goodness it was only minor cuts and scrapes. Next month is choking. The kids got their group awards, different from county wide awards in August.

Some of you may remember that last year we volunteered at the Lower Suwannee Nature Refuge. This year we just don't really have the time to do it once a month, but am hoping to get some volunteer time in there. Well Ranger Pam has a nice new shiny classroom, and today she hosted her first class, and it was awesome! First we went on a hayride and nature search, kids had a journal type worksheet to write on, down to the Suwannee River. There the kids learned about how temperature, turbidity, diffused oxygen and PH of the water, effects the wildlife that lives in the water. It was an awesome little experiment. Then back to the classroom for a Birds of Prey class. The lady that does the class has a bird sanctuary, where they rescue and treat injured birds of prey, then release them to the wild when able. She was marvelous, and the kids had a ball getting pictures of all the birds. Ranger Pam even managed to get in a small pollinator class, before the end of the day. I only got nervous once. The classroom is quite small and the birds where quite large. But, the handlers had complete control, and I was put at ease very quickly. A tiring two days, but the weather was amazing too! Now back to more traditional school the next two days. I can not wait for the next class. I don't have to do any planning or thinking, LOL!

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