Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cruise Post

I've posted the story and pictures of our cruise on my travel blog if you are interested. It's a long post, but it's mostly pictures! Enjoy!
Crumpet Moves to Paradise

Monday, December 26, 2011

Practicing Gratitude: Gifts 751-780

Oh so many gifts! It has been a wonderful month.
751: Finding old pictures on my cell phone.
752: Christmas lights.
753: I finally got around to making this craft with Crumpet. I've had it on my list for the last several Christmases...
754: Seeing this cat so happy when we set up the tree every year.
755: Seeing this cat so happy with Christmas wrapping every year.
756: Mellow cats who have been through so much in their years with us that nothing phases them anymore.
757: Crumpet has been a crafting maniac this month. We made LOTS of Christmas crafts.
758:Christmas cards containing photos of friends.
759: The joy of a 5 year old at Christmas time.
760: The fun of pulling out all of our Christmas ornaments and remembering where we got them.
761: A chance to go on a cruise.
762: We have seen all of the Hawaiian islands that we wanted to visit during our tour here.
763: We got to ride in 2 helicopters.
764: We survived our helicopter rides.
765: We saw flowing lava.
766: All you can eat buffets.
767: Towel animals.
768: Dolphins.
769: Hot tubs.
770: Wrinkled mountains.
771: We saw silversword plants. These are extremely rare.
772: I don't live in a cold climate!
773: Crumpet is a great traveler.
774: Accidental meetings with acquaintances in unexpected places! I ran into my yoga teacher at a bathroom in a wildlife refuge on Kauai!!
775: Double rainbows.
776: Finding this one morning:
777: The endless giggles caused by living with a silly 5 year old, AKA Christmas Dude:
778: The world is full of interesting places to explore.
779: And fabulous sights to see:780:So many creative people - this was a Christmas village made out of gingerbread that contained all of the beautiful buildings of downtown Honolulu.

Our best learning is happening now, while school is out..

Lately, the craziness of life has been affecting our school time. We have so many commitments and appointments... We end up squeezing our book work into the few hours of down time we have each day, and it always feels like we're trying to 'get it over with' so we can go run the next errand.. It's nothing like I pictured homeschooling.
This week, though, we've used our usual book work time to go learn outside while having fun, like I planned it..
Friday, we took Crumpet Sr. with us to the beach and flew kites and had a picnic. Then we went wading around in tide pools to see what we could find. We ended up with a bucket of little fish, snails, and piles of little hermit crabs. The weather was beautiful, the waves are huge, and the surfers are fun to watch. Crumpet was so excited to be outside, studying nature. It was bliss. There is no other word.
Today, Crumpet and I headed out to a park we've been wanting to explore. The next science lesson in our book was about learning to identify local plants and birds. We took A Hiker's Guide to Trailside Plants in Hawaii with us.
This was a great lesson in using the table of contents and the index of a non-fiction book. In the park, we chose some plants to identify and found almost all of them in the book. We took lots of pictures and brought home a few leaves and seeds to dry so we can make a booklet to refer back to.
While we were out, we found a geocache. Then we played on a huge wooden model train engine located in the park.
We pretended we were characters from Puss in Boots. It was so much fun, and Crumpet had no idea we'd spent the afternoon doing school work. I need to find a way to do this more often.
This week, I'm noticing that Crumpet is finally more willing to ask 'why' and come up with a hypothesis. He's willing to wonder, and discuss possibilities. He's learning to think for himself. It is so exciting to watch, and it makes him so much fun to talk to.
Life is good.

(P.S. I just looked back at my blog, and one of my recent posts was about all the fun things we were doing in November when we weren't in school... Maybe I need to relax and stop stressing so much about the daily requirements of life and remember the fun bits more? )

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone! Have a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fun Restaurant Activity

We're back, and and we had a wonderful time. I have several blog posts to write, including a couple of travel posts, a post about A Thomas Jefferson Education, a school update, and of course, a huge gratitude post. And I have a million of your blogs to read... I'm guessing it will take me til after Christmas to catch up!
For now, I'll just post this randomness:
We had lunch at a pizza place on Kaua'i. Instead of the standard coloring sheet and crayons, they hand out a ball of pizza dough to keep the kids busy while they wait for their food. I thought, "Oh, how odd", until Crumpet spent hours playing with it, during lunch, and in the car afterward. It's better than playdoh because it holds together really well. We will definitely be using this idea at home!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Scholastic Books Warehouse Sale

Have you heard about the Scholastic Books Warehouse sales? Check out this link to see if there is one near you! We went to one that happened to be 10 minutes away from our house, and we found some good deals. Maybe not as many educational books as I planned, and a few too many Star Wars books, but Crumpet and I both left happy. Apparently, these sales take place a few times a year. We'll definitely be going to future events!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Odds and Ends

We've been plugging away at the school work, and it looks like we'll be able to take a winter break when all of the neighborhood kids are out of school. I expected to have to keep working then because we've taken so many extra breaks this year, but somehow, we are all caught up to where I'd hoped to be by the end of December.
Here's what we've been up to when we aren't doing bookwork...
Crumpet's favorite local musician came to the library for his annual show. He is amazing, and the kids go wild:
We discovered an awesome, free children's garden 15 minutes from the house. We will definitely be going back!
We visited the garden with a friend we hadn't seen in ages. The kids were so excited to see each other.
Crumpet tried rock climbing at an indoor gym. He did great!
We went on a LONG, beautiful hike over the weekend (had to work off that big turkey dinner!!) There were a couple of scary stream crossings, but we made it.
There were also some cool old army bunkers that made for great army games:
Crumpet and our dog visitors collapsed when we reached the car:
Next week, we are headed off on a cruise of the Hawaiian islands. We're so excited. I'll share pictures when we get back!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fall Crafts

Crumpet has been in a rare mood to craft. Hurray! Of course, having a fun holiday theme to work with makes it easier. Here are a few of his Halloween creations:
We found these turkeys in a free Thanksgiving packet from Curriclick. We plan to share them with some of our favorite Meals on Wheels ladies who have a habit of spoiling Crumpet with candy and cookies...
And I adapted this project from one I saw at Tired, Need Sleep here. I was thinking we'd do all of our Christmas cards like this, but I'm guessing the glitter wouldn't survive the mail... So perhaps this will be what we hand out to people on our Christmas Meals on Wheels route.
(Do take Nicole's hint to do this project outside seriously! I remembered her suggestion - right after Crumpet accidentally dumped an entire jar of glitter on the dining room table.. ah glitter. Glitter in the breakfast, the lunch, the dinner, the hair!! It's a good thing we all like being sparkly!)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Practicing Gratitude: Gifts 716-750

So far, November has been a lovely month. One with many blessings:
716: Lavender really does repel ants!
717: APEC is over - the traffic was outrageous here, as many world leaders (including Pres. Obama) came here to discuss the world economy.
718: APEC is not held in Hawaii every year!
719: My dad is finally feeling better after a terrible case of pneumonia.
720: I found the perfect Christmas present for my dad.
721: My husband irons his own clothes.
722: I had a wonderful visit with an old friend.
723: Crumpet had a wonderful visit with my friend.
724: The friend built amazing, whole-room forts for my astonished child.
725: I am grateful for my friend's husband, who stayed home in Florida with 4 small children so she could come here to visit me and have some time off!
726: Long chats with a fellow homeschooler.
727: Mango margaritas.
728: A delicious dinner out without kids.
729: Swimming with sea turtles.
730: Being able to help a friend in need.
731: We unexpectedly have our 2 big dog friends visiting for the next 2 weeks.
732: Crumpet is overjoyed at having dogs to play with again.
733: A friend who is willing to help with some of my crazier charity projects.
734: Crumpet Sr.'s job is about to calm down considerably.
735: Crumpet Sr.'s shoulder is drastically improved.
736: Sweet best-friend moments.
737: Daddy and Son nights out, so I can have a little quiet time.
738: White, billowy clouds.
739: Learning not to judge others.
740: Honesty.
741: Chocolate covered macademia nuts.
742: It's that time of year again!
743: All-in-one printers.
744: The hot dog dance.
745: An ice maker that makes ice.
746: I don't think I'll have to grocery shop til after Thanksgiving.
747: A chance to make all of my favorite dishes and share them with a friend.
748: Constantly being surprised by Hawaii.
749: We introduced another friend to geocaching last week, and she's hooked!
750: The dogs will give me an excuse to start walking again - I've been terrible lately...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Practicing Gratitude Gifts 676-

Well, it's November and Thanksgiving and all. I guess I really should be adding to my gratitude list!!

676: Halloween activities
676: Candy
677: Face Paint
678: Homemade ice cream
679: Huge bags to hold library books
680: Interlibrary loan
681: Coloring pages from the internet
682: I stocked up on crayons during the school sales
683: The calming effect music has on Crumpet
684: Stickers
685: Horseback riding lessons for Crumpet

686: Mended fences with old friends.
687: New friends
688: Quitting Facebook means that I'm interacting more with actual humans!
689: Having a 5 year old in the house on Halloween - so much fun!
690: The radar thingy that parks near our house every once in a while. We call it "The Bubble".

691: Rainbows

692: Hand me downs
693: 2 awesome birthday parties.
694: A chance to try out boxcar racing at one of the parties

695: Take out food
696: An interesting new business opportunity
697: Crumpet had a (very careful) sword battle with a (seated) Meals on Wheels recipient and she laughed so hard she cried. This is a lady who hasn't had anything to laugh about in a long time. It was beautiful to watch.
698: Crumpet's protective instinct toward the above lady.
699: The rainy season has begun here, but it's mostly raining at night.
700: We have a visitor arriving tomorrow.
701: We completed the first level of All About Spelling.
702: We're on track with the rest of our studies.
703: Crumpet and I had the most wonderful day at the zoo...
704: I'm nearly done with Christmas shopping!
705: We found a replacement stuffed bunny for Crumpet after nearly a year of looking for the lost one...
706: The neighbors stopped leaving their new, barking dog out all night.
707: Leis
709: Boursin cheese
710: I found canned pumpkin and stocked up - that is not an easy thing to do here.
711: Crumpet's gratitude list. It's very entertaining!
712: Crumpet's cutting skills are finally improving.
713: Our Georgia tenants plan to stay a little longer...
714: We have enough.
715: The cats are enjoying the cooler weather, and they are very funny to watch...

Well, I'm blank for now. Maybe I can get to 800 by Thanksgiving? I've been doing this list forever, and I still haven't reached 1000! Someday...

Friday, November 4, 2011

All About Spelling Level 1 - Complete!

Well, he still doesn't like it:
but today, we finished Level 1 from All About Spelling. AND... today, Crumpet took the pencil out of my hand as I wrote the words he was spelling orally (he doesn't like to use the AAS tiles)... AND he wrote them himself! This is a different child than I started the year with. It is amazing to watch.
I have purchased the next level from All About Spelling, but we won't start it until January. For the next 2 months, we'll review the rules from level 1 and practice the phrases provided in the book. We've done some review, but nowhere near as much as the company recommends, because, as we all know, Crumpet hates review. So now we have lots of time to do it slowly, with no pressure.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween was a lot of fun this year! Crumpet counted the days for weeks beforehand...
We had 4 pumpkins to carve. Crumpet still won't touch the pumpkin guts...
But he did help carve for the first time this year! I held his hand with the knife most of the time, but he did a lot of it. He was so proud! (This a really bad re-enactment of the carving by Crumpet...)
Look what we found in one of the pumpkins! Sprouting seeds! I don't think I've ever seen that before. Of course, we planted them...
The finished products. The one on the left is the one Crumpet carved - lots of easy straight lines. The one on the right is the one he wanted to carve, but couldn't quite manage, so Crumpet Sr. did it for him.
The ghosties are mine, and the witch was Dad's...

We had FOUR Halloween events to attend, so Crumpet got to be many different characters, which was good because he just couldn't make up his mind about a costume. At one event, he arrived as Grievous from Star Wars:
But left as Spiderman, because he had his face painted...
There were bouncy castles...
For the library party, Crumpet was Darth Vader. In the end, he chose to be Vader for the actual night of trick or treating, as well. He wore black pants to complete the costume...
For another party, Crumpet went as Darth Maul from Star Wars. Dad went all out with the face paint..
Crumpet was so proud of this look. Unfortunately, paint removal took forever, so he decided NOT to be Darth Maul again for Halloween night. Too bad - this was my favorite costume.
Here he is with Crumpet Sr. They both believe "the scarier, the better.."
There was LOTS of loot at the end - we should have candy through next summer!
It poured all night, after Halloween fortunately, so we saw this fabulous rainbow in the morning.
It's so fun to have a little on in the house for holidays! Hope you all had fun too!