Thursday, December 8, 2011

Never A Dull Moment.

Thanksgiving was different this family, no friends...just us. And it was good! We really enjoy our family time, so a 4-day weekend with Russ (and a full 9 days with Brooklyn!) was awesome. We ended up coloring some rocks while waiting for our turkey roast to cook. It was more fun than Russ OR I gave it credit!

We put the rocks in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, then took crayons without paper on them and put them on the hot rocks to melt. It was really neat! There were only a couple of minor burns, but we got some pretty sweet rocks in the end.

Our Thanksgiving feast--turkey roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, olives...I think there was a real vegetable in there somewhere. Oh, do you like my hair? Brooklyn, my personal hairstylist spent quite a bit of time on it...and this is minus about 3 additional bows...

Over Thanksiving weekend, Russ decided that he and the kids needed to build a "medieval siege weapon" other words a trebuchet to launch pineapple guavas into the fence. Awesome? I think so.

"Look Mom, BUBBLE HANDS!!" Life doesn't get much better than this...

Last weekend they were having the Fungus Fair at the Lawrence Hall of Science at Berkeley. One very cool thing about this's on top of everything. Here's Alcatraz and Golden Gate.

And the Bay Bridge.

Aaaaaaaand who could forget balancing on top of a baleen whale??

HAHA, do you see the amazement on that kid's face?! "You mean you can make a mushroom....WITH A POTATO?!" Just astounding.

I didn't get many other photos of the Fungus Fair, but it was neat. Everything from identification booths to vendors selling mushrooms, mushroom kumbacha, felt mushrooms, paper made from mushrooms, hand-dyed clothing and yarns from mushrooms...and of course a grow-your-own-mushroom kit for $5!! SWEET! A little hydrogen peroxide, some straw, some some oyster mushroom innoculant...put in cool, dark spot for 1 month and check for small mushrooms. WOOT!

Sam loved riding the example of the Hayward fault line (which the Berkeley stadium sits on...who was the genius that thought THAT was a good idea?! Needless to say, it is under construction...), and has MANY TIMES asked to go back to "the earthquake riding place."

I've learned that before I put anything in the recycling bin to always ask Brooklyn if she needs it first...9 times out of 10 I get a, "You were going to throw this away?!" Then she snags it out of my hands and shuffles off to her art kit and with a threat, "Don't look, OR ELSE." Today she turned a Costco milk carton box into a portable art kit!

While Brooklyn was working on her portable art kit, Sam decided to make smoothies. And eggs. And re-heated pancakes. With peanut butter, chocolate chips, and honey. Mmmm, can you say Breakfast of Champions??

We also started tracking the weather. Brooklyn came up with her own symbols for sunny, cloudy, windy, rainy, snowy, frosty, partly cloudy...and a couple of other things that I'm not sure of. The morning after we put this up, Brook was up bright and early, "I NEED TO SEE WHAT THE WEATHER IS LIKE TODAY!!!" Oh-kaaaay.

It's also led to discussions on temperature scales. So now we've started adding the low temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius to each day as well (which is fun because if she sees frost outside she automatically knows we've hit the freezing point). Sigh, this kid now knows more about the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales than I knew in 6th grade...

It's time to replace all of our fall decor with snowflakes! I did my big one, and Brooklyn did about ten million smaller ones and taped them up all over the house, and Sam just practiced cutting his pieces of paper into a thousand little pieces.

The other night, Russ and Sam ran to Costco for me. So I told Brooklyn that the evening was ours--GIRLS ONLY. Let's go crazy! Do whatever we want!!! What did she choose to do?? Snuggle on the couch and write out a book. I would read a page, then she would write all of the words in her notebook. Then she wanted to watch me do it.

That was fun and all, and I was very proud she wanted to do that, AND her writing is getting better...but after the first book, I vetoed the second and declared it time for Chocolate No Bake Cookies instead.

I recently showed Brooklyn how to use tracing paper. My "kid's artwork drawer" that I use to store all of their creations to scan them at a later date is reaching Full capacity extremely quick.

Tracing things (dinosaur and frog) and creating patterns with different art mediums...none of which was my idea. This girl is SO art-minded...while I like art, I do not live and breathe it and look for it in every.single.thing. like she does. I'm grateful to have her by my side, pointing out many things that I miss from my point of view.

We got some dinosaur rubbings that the kids both enjoy doing. Sam was the first to want to turn his into a book, then Brook mentioned maybe they should paint their rubbings. I was surprised that this all kept Sam's attention for as long as it did--a record 30 minutes between the rubbings, book making and painting. Brook sat there for over an hour from start to finish, and then told me the story of her dinosaur: the volcano erupted, and the dinosaur was so afraid because his nest was next to the volcano, so he's running to rescue the eggs.

These are just some of the examples of the many things we do each day...for those of you who aren't aware, we made the decision to pull Brooklyn out of public school and homeschool. I cannot tell you how amazing this has been. Yes, some days are harder than others. Yes, I get completely and utterly burnt out. But I am SO happy with it. I really enjoy my kids and their perspectives on life, and it's not just them learning, I am learning so much right along with them. I may not be the world's best teacher, but I firmly believe that Russ and I are hands down THE best teachers for our kids.

Anyway, enough with the PSA. If homeschooling is even an inkling of appealing to you, a couple of books that helped me figure out what I wanted to do include: The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, Deschooling Our Lives by Matt Hern, and Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto.


  1. I feel like you aren't quite as far away when I read your blog! The mushrooms would have killed me... no really... very allergic, but really cool. My mom would LOVE something like that!
    I'm proud of you for taking the leap into homeschooling. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty that I didn't give it a try, but then I LOVE the school where Elijah (and eventually Grace) is attending and feel I couldn't really do it better. But that's me! I think you will do a great job. Obviously, you are very excited about it and I think that's the key to it all!

  2. You are an amazing mom, and your kids are awesome. I can't believe how big they are! I love Brooklyn's portable art kit. That's awesome, as is everything else your kids are doing!