Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Fun

Jack really enjoys Halloween, so we've been having some fun lately. We painted pumpkins!

The kids cleaned our pumpkin out--Alice was not sure what to think about it.

Jack found a picture he liked in a book, so Jay drew it on and carved it.

We had supper by the light of the jack o'lantern!

This morning we had pumpkin pancakes for breakfast--and then pop tarts, because the kids didn't really care for the pancakes and I didn't care to create even more of a mess in the kitchen!

Remembering how squirrely kids are at school on Halloween, we went to the zoo today to wrap up our giraffe unit.

We were pretty impressed by all the decorations for the Halloween event. The kids LOVED the Scooby section--Scooby was even in the van!

For supper we had mummy meatloaf, and then it was off to our friends' house for trick or treating.

Luke and Leia!

Jack would probably trick or treat all night if he could. Alice did a pretty good job, though she often told people about her bubba instead of saying, "Trick or treat!" When we stopped at our friends' mom's house, we borrowed a wagon, which made things a lot easier!

The stash--one and a half buckets of candy!

Happy Halloween! And don't forget that the Homeschool Share blog goes live tomorrow!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Alice School

{Alice in her self-styled costume.}

As Jack was in PE this week, I was out in the hall talking with Alice. A lady walked up and said, "Is she doing her sight words yet?" At first I didn't say anything, because I thought she must be on the phone or something, because few toddlers know their sight words. Then she stopped and said, "Is she working on blends?" She was talking to me! About Alice! I was so genuinely surprised, I didn't say anything for a minute. Finally I said, "She's two!" "Oh, yes, but she's so verbal!" She went on to tell me about how I could use some Classical Conversations thing and she's be reading in no time. Um, no, thanks.

If your toddler wants to learn to read, that's great. But for most toddlers, mine included, learning is much more fun when you're doing. Sitting still is for suckers, and my girl's no sucker. Most days Alice tags along where she can with what Jack is doing. She recognizes the Five in a Row books we've done and loves to listen. I've been doing go-alongs for her where we can and she's having fun, even if she doesn't know what sound br- makes.

I'm trying to get out the messy stuff more often. She is pretty good about not running off while she's covered in paint.

Playing with her new farm felt set

Both kids loved this monster game I found for super cheap a while back!

One of her favorite things to do is cut tiny pieces of paper and then color them--with crayons she has peeled. It makes a mess, but her "work" keeps her busy for quite a while, so it's helpful when Jack and I are trying to get something done!

And, of course, there's lots of reading going on!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fun Friday: A Perfect Day

Today's Fun Friday had us on the go almost all day long!

We started with breakfast with friends at IHOP, where they had free scary face pancakes--perfect price!

Then it was on to Philbrook, where they had a new exhibit!

The kids also took some time to make some art of their own.

We've been studying Picasso this month and we were able to see two today--perfect tie-in!

We spent lots of time outside today.

The weather was pretty much perfect.

The scenery was pretty much perfect.

The kids were pretty much perfect. There were 10 of them, and at the end of the exhibit, the security guard came up and complimented us on how well behaved they all were.

After that, we had more outside time at the arboretum.


Halloween Oreos!

High five for perfect days!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Five More Days!

You've heard me rave about Homeschool Share many times, and now it is getting even better! Tuesday, November 1, Homeschool Share's new blog will go live! I am so excited to be a part of the team and can't wait to see all come together.

I will be writing a book review each month on "a book worth reading"--usually for kids, but sometimes for moms, too. When Ami asked me about doing this, she said she wanted reviews of twaddle-free, living books. At that moment I was reading--and I promise I'm not making this up--Naked Heat, the second Castle book. And yes, I'm picking up the third one at the library soon.

So why would a twaddle-reading person who has trouble writing for other people agree to write book reviews? I love children's books. At one point I was actually going to library school and planning to be a school librarian. Once I was even offered a job as a school librarian! Probably I'm never going to be a librarian, but now I can tell people about great books without worrying about who's looking at what on the computer or which teacher is hogging all the Civil War books.

The other reason I agreed to do this is because of all of the hard work Ami has put into Homeschool Share over the years. This is such an amazing--and FREE--resource for so many people. Candace has done a great job of listing all of the different kinds of resources on the site, and if you haven't checked it out, you really, really need to! If there is anything I can do to help her out, I am glad to do it and I am honored to be a part of such a great group of ladies.

The blog will go live on Tuesday, but if you head over now, you can download the November calendar, chock full of all kinds of activities to do and goodies to make!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I feel obligated to include a picture in most blog posts if I can, but all I could find for this one is this snapshot someone took of us (our high school choir from church) singing in a mall in Anchorage. This was a year after we spent a week touring prisons. Seriously. Anyway, on to the post...

Recently I've been a part of discussions about and have read posts on why people have blogs. Obviously, there are lots of bloggers who are trying to make money from their writing, either from links or merchandise. There are those who love to be in the various blog contests and want you to vote for them once a day from every computer in your house. Really, those kinds of blogs are okay to me. I visit some of them regularly because they have lots of resources I can use and I really do appreciate the time and effort some of these women put into their blogs. The blogs I really enjoy reading, though, are the ones where you feel like you're sitting down for a chat with the writer and hearing firsthand about what happened in their day.

When I started to blog almost four years ago, it was because Jay was going to be in Kuwait for several months and we wanted a way for him to see what we were doing each day. Since then, it's become a substitute scrapbook, a school portfolio, and a place to put random thoughts. I think it's fun that other people read it, but really, it's for me now. If all seven readers told me tomorrow that they no longer cared what I had to say, I'd still write.

In the last month or so, a couple of different writing opportunities have come my way (more on that as things actually start posting) and I've found it's really a lot harder to write for an "assignment" than it is to write for myself. When I write here, I don't edit a great deal (hence the rampant use of "a lot") and I don't worry too much about things being exactly right. When I write for someone else, though, I hear my 12th grade English teacher whispering in my ear. In case you think you know what I'm talking about, let me tell you, you don't--well, maybe a couple of people who will read this do. This teacher was infamous. She chose her students for her AP class and she worked us hard. To her credit, we became good writers, and some of us even became "real" writers.

I was a pretty good writer in high school thanks to her. The stuff (again, my lack of editing shows poor word choice) I quickly dashed out for college courses would have gotten me a B or C for my senior year class, but it earned me an A every time there. She committed a major faux pas (should that be in italics?) in my eyes, though. At the end of our senior year she found out Jay and I were dating and she told me to, and I quote, "be careful." That deserves italics, people. Be. careful. What??? Watch out or you might have a great life? Beware of those cute kids! Danger! Nice house alert!! Um, yeah. Perhaps I could spin that to mean that she was worried that if I ended up with Jay, I wouldn't have enough angst to make me the fabulous writer she knew I could be. Ahem. So, yeah, I think she was just plain nuts, which makes me question her when she's muttering in my year. If she was wrong about Jay, is she wrong about that idiom, too?

When I'm writing for others, I notice my to be verbs and I worry about comma placement instead of focusing on my voice. I'm worried that my piece will be a 6 or a 7 instead of a 9. Voice is what makes it a 9. I think that when I blog here, you hear my voice, but I don't know about in other places yet. Honestly, the post I just submitted took me almost a week to write and it was just a few paragraphs. It didn't sound like me to me, but it was grammatically correct and I was tired of messing with it, so I turned it in. Hopefully it will get easier with time!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Fun: Camping

Friday Fun actually started on Thursday night this week. The kids went camping in Grandma and Grandpa's yard!

I'm not sure if I like this picture or not, because Jack looks really old in it! They liked tossing logs (and leaves and walnuts and anything else) on the fire.

Alice and Piers got chilly, so they warmed up in the camper with Grandpa.

It was not so chilly that you didn't get roasted along with your marshmallows, though.

After the sun went down the campfire felt good!

Jack and Hope told some spooky stories.

They look ready for bed, don't they?

Well, they weren't! Thankfully my mom was the photographer here and I was inside with Alice, who fell asleep while the big kids were watching a movie. You know I was really sad to be sleeping inside and not out where the temperatures were in the 30s!

The kids all lasted the night in the camper, but they had a LOT of blankets on!

Alice was up bright and early (well, dark and early, really) and couldn't wait for the big kids to get up and play with her.

The kids spent the morning playing. I got to go grocery shopping all by myself!

Grandpa brought lunch from Sonic!

Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa for a super fun Friday!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Pumpkin Patch

A couple of weeks ago we went to the pumpkin patch!

Just like last year, Jack loved the hay house!

I snapped this picture of him on one of his runs through the house.

Alice was content to stay outside and practice her scarecrow skills.

Alice has been talking about going "ring around the rosy on horses" since we went to the Scottish Festival. She was so excited!

She got to take a couple of rides, and she sang almost the whole time.

Jack enjoyed the horses, too!

Though she will play with her brother, Alice isn't always sure about other kids.

She and Lydia did play alongside each other!

We took some time to feed the animals.

Jack had them eating right out of his hand!

Hayride time!

When we were all done, we loaded up our wagon with pumpkins to take home!