Wednesday, June 29, 2011


So how come no one pointed out to me that I kept spelling Colosseum wrong?? (maybe because spell-check liked the way I was spelling it before?) Ugh. I'm so embarrassed.
Though that seems to be a recurring theme for me today. It seems to be one big lesson in humility!
A brief recap, just so you can laugh at/with me too:
today I:
~broke two water bottles
~spilled water all over myself when I was trying to drink out of one of said water bottles (but that was before it broke!)
~ended up completely saturating a recipe that was sitting on the counter, from when I was dumping the water from Broken Water Bottle 1 into not-yet-broken-bottle 2.
~trusted the GPS (which isn't a bad thing, unless you take into account that we trusted it yesterday and it took us to three roads that no longer existed)
~bumped into Hudson, knocking him off the picnic table (he was half off and I turned, bumping him the rest of the way)
(edited to add this one)
~gave my blog post a title that I promptly forgot to mention anything about in the post
~dragged my camera to the park and took 10 pictures.
Here are two of those pictures from our homeschool outing to a nearby nature center/park:

And two little stories of Jasmine's cuteness during the outing:

She brought her "science book," More Fun with Nature (Fun with Nature), and was intending to look for flowers we'd learned about. The only one we actually saw was Ox-Eye Daisy. But there was a sign about Wild Roses. She was so excited. Even though the sign told all about them, she had me help her find it in the book so she could show all her friends about the flowers!
At one point she found some pretty yellow flowers, and told me she thought they were "come-on buttercups." I didn't have the heart to correct her with what they really were!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


We got our boxes!
And boxes, and boxes, and boxes.

That should pretty much take care of the year!

So this morning we made the Coliseum. It's not as fancy as some, but considering it only took a half hour, it's not too shabby!

They're having an awesome time in it, too. Too much fun, actually. The girls are both in a short time-out out of it.

But then again, if this is a place where gladiators fought and thousands of wild animals would die in a single day, why am I at all surprised that the girls want to start throwing things against the walls??

Edit: Jasmine told her auntie that the Coliseumers would do shows for the people. I guess Gladiators is just too random a term for her!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Little Boxes

Actually, BIG boxes.

I just bit the bullet and spent far more money than I'd ever imagined on a shipment of boxes. We will have all the sizes we need to make all the hideaways for the entire year.
Well, almost. We need one more "large" box. But we may just make due and make that week in miniature, unless I finally get up the confidence to start calling places to see if they have any they can give me!

If you want to see pictures of our homeschool outing from Saturday (strawberry picking!) you can see them on my other blog. I figured my family would enjoy seeing the pictures, so posted them there instead of here ;)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Trojan Horse

I wanted Jasmine to narrate about the Trojan Horse and what went into making our doll-sized version. But Jasmine, being Jasmine, would have none of that.
So I'll just be content with the pictures she took:

There's a side door, large enough to put a doll in, so they can get the idea of people being inside the original horse. (which, by the way, happened in what's now modern-day Turkey! It was only a couple hours away from where I lived, but I never made it over to see it. I wish I had...)

The head is a stick horse, which worked out really well!
The belly of the horse was made to hold a couple dolls but is already falling apart. This may be the first hideaway to make the trip to the curb!

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Day Off

Actually, it was two days off.
Yesterday we spent the morning with a homeschooling family and then took the rest of the day doing very little school. Did a few spelling words and a handwriting game.
Which I should tell you about! It was great!
Jasmine brought me their little chalkboard and said it would work well for spelling. So I wrote "wh" on the chalkboard, and she chose one of her spelling words to write. (this week all the words are "wh" words)
Once that was done, we played a little game with Bekah involved too. Hudson tried to help too.
Reminder for next time: find something else to occupy him when using the chalkboard.
I would draw a letter on the chalkboard. Then each girl would take her turn to try to match mine as close as she could. I would choose a "winner" for that round (don't worry; it ended up being remarkably close! they alternated almost perfectly!) and that winner would choose the next letter I would write. We got through at least half of the lower-case alphabet, including all the letters that trip them up (y, a and s are their weakest, though I think they forgot g).
Hudson liked to help clear the board but didn't always remember to wait until they'd finish...

Today wasn't quite as free as that. In reality, today was a field trip. Complete with docents who didn't like kids.
We went to the botanical gardens with a few other homeschooling families. This is the Homeschooling Family Weekend, apparently, since tomorrow is music class and Sunday we're going on a train ride with some of the families. Good thing we like each other!
So, since the botanical garden is having a special display of a model train set, we thought it would be a good way to get them in the mindset of trains before Sunday's ride.
They loved it.
But can you see any potential disasters??
Yeah. Like the whole thing being at the kids' level, with a tiny, weak fence around it.
Bekah was the first one in our group to derail the train. They had to fix it, which took a few minutes. It was immediately followed by kids who weren't in our group trying to derail it.
I had words with that child when he came back attempting to recreate his previous crash. I'm thankful he's not one of ours.
One of the things Jasmine was supposed to do this week was to draw pictures of the wildflowers we read about in science. She was dragging her feet over that, so instead we brought her science notebook so she could draw the flowers there.
She drew one: Showy Jasmine.
 This is her interpretation:
Bekah did a little scavenger hunt from the sheets they offered. She did pretty well, considering how little time we spent actually looking for things!
Hudson had fun. Lots and lots of fun.

That, after a little bit of history reading (today was about Alexander the Great), was school for the day. But I'm okay with that. It's nice to have a little (or a lot) of extra time so we can just relax and not have to live by the clock. Even with NYS breathing down our necks!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nazca Creations

Last week we learned about the Nazca Lines, so their project was to learn how hard it must have been to create them.
So we put a blindfold on and they tried to draw a picture in the sand.

I let Hudson do it without the blindfold. He would have been too frustrated.

It was fun, and they got almost no sand on the table!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Routine and Peace

Jasmine has never been my easy child.
It also means she adds a tremendous amount of sparkle to life.
And she broke us in. We thought we had life all figured out, and then we had Jasmine.
She made us figure things out all over again. And we love her for it. (especially now that she's 6 and no longer keeping us from sleeping)
It's pretty amusing that, for some reason, I thought we'd gotten all the wrinkles worked out and that life would start cruising. I should have known that teaching her would force a new level of flexibility out of me!

But it's actually been an easier transition than I expected. Other than a few "what did I get myself into??" moments the first two weeks, things are going well.
One of those awesome side effects I didn't anticipate, but love, is that she's gotten easier-going since we started doing school daily.
And a new one just hit me today. I made up a couple badges for her to "help mommy." I didn't have anything particular in mind, but knew that I wanted something positive to come from this.
And it has! She wanted to do it today (Monday morning!!!) so she helped me make the egg salad sandwiches. Then this afternoon, I actually invited her to help me make the cake for dinner tonight.
You have to realize what a huge thing that is for me. I usually like to do things myself. It's faster, less crowded, and I don't have to think everything through quite as extensively. But I knew she could help and welcomed her help!
I have to admit, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. For her to start resisting school again, or to just be cranky in general, but it really is looking like we've turned a corner and are going down a new, untrodden, peaceful, happy road! And I'm very thankful for that!
Love that sparkle, but love this peaceful, happy, easy-going girl I'm suddenly seeing. I hope she sticks around!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The iglue

This week's Hideaway was one we've been very excited about. I started collecting milk and water jugs from willing family and friends months ago.
We had three large garbage bags and three boxes, sitting in the basement, waiting for the appointed time.
Since today's already been one of the most bizarre days in recent history, what better day than to tackle this?!

So...up came the milk jugs.
Out came the glue gun and glue sticks.

We had a very serious talk about who was allowed to use the glue gun and what could happen with disobedience.
They got it. They didn't come anywhere near it!

I think it's too wide. I don't know if the milk jugs the book had in mind had different angles, or just what. But this was as tight as we could get. They recommended 60 jugs. 72 didn't bring it anywhere close to finished.

Anyways. We brought down their sleeping bags so they could pretend they were in an igloo, while I read to them about how people lived in them.

Ten minutes later, I got a phone call, and started hearing the sound of ice cracking (gravity-induced, not the kids). But then the kids "helped."

The state of the kitchen right now:

72 milk jugs
5 glue sticks
3 kids and 1 mom
30 minutes to create
10 minutes of playtime
10 minutes of destruction
1 hour (and counting) of "milk jug wars"

Conclusion: not the best-laid plans, but I think we've all learned valuable lessons. Maybe not so much about igloos and the Eskimos, but that's a good lesson in life!