Sunday, September 26, 2010

Harvest Houses

We made harvest houses today in celebration of the Autumnal Equinox.  Who said gingerbread houses were only for Christmas?  I started by making this gingerbread cookie recipe. While the dough was chilling I drafted a simple house template out of cardstock.  Here is one I found online if you just want to print it out and use it.  Using the cardstock template cut out two of each piece. 

Carefully place the house pieces on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees until lightly brown around the edges...11-15 minutes. 

Next use the remaining dough to cut out the accent pieces...having fall themed cookie cutters really helps out with this:)

Bake the accent pieces on an ungreased cookie sheet 8-11 minutes until the edges are lightly brown.  Let all the cookie pieces cool and harden for 24 hours before beginning house construction.  To construct the house first select a base; we used watercolored cardboard but really anything sturdy will do.  Next mix up the house cement...AKA Royal Icing.  I used Alton's recipe and it was perfect.  I did add food color to achieve this awesome orange color:)  Place the icing in a pastry bag and prepare for piping!  Liberally pipe the icing on the back sides of the front house piece and attach a wall segment to each side.  Let this harden and then attach the back house piece using the same technique.  Let this set for at least 20 minutes before attaching the roof.  Next liberally pipe each house peak with icing and carefully attach the roof pieces.  Let house sit for at least 1 hour before attaching the remaining decorations. 

After 1 hour, I filled two pastry bags with the remaining frosting and let the kids go wild piping and decorating their houses.  These are the end results.

Happy Fall go make a house:)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bidding Summer Farewell

When I awoke this morning I had every intention of homeschooling....and then I walked outside. I was greeted by the most beautiful late summer day, which was in fact beckoning me to run off to the beach.  So we did:)  We took this opportunity to have on last beach day, and what a glorious day it was.  Sand, surf and sunshine abounded as we bid a fond farewell to summer.  Lately I have been giddy with anticipation for fall, but the beauty of today has left me feeling bittersweet.  I shall miss the salty sea air and sun kissed children of the summer...
Not to worry we were able to do "night school"" when we returned.  I love the flexibility of homeschool!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Day of School and Our Schultüte

Well, today was the day...Back To School!  Each year we kick off the first day of school with a schultüte.  Schultütes are a German tradition that date back to the 1810. 

On their first day of school German kids receive a schultüte, which is a large cardboard cornet filled with sweets and little presents.  When we decided to homeschool I wanted to find a tradition we could adopt to make our first day back exciting and special.  I started searching for back to school traditions and came across the schultüte.  I made them last year and they were a huge hit with the kids...T has been asking me for weeks when he was going to get his cone:)  They are very easy to make.  First I twisted a large sheet of poster board into a cone shape.  Then I hot glued it together and trimmed the top to make it level all the way around.  Next I tapped wrapping paper onto the outside, and placed tissue paper around the top.  Finally you stuff it full of goodies and affix a ribbon.  Our cones were filled with school supplies, snacks, stickers, one back to school outfit, and a small toy.  Here is a tutorial I found if you want more details and pictures.  

We had a very successful day without ANY complaining or foot dragging. So...... 1 day down, and 179 days to go:)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Our Curriculum for 2010-2011

We are all excited to begin our school year this Monday....and by we I mean me:)  After hours of research I have finally decided on our curriculum choices for this year.  So without further adieu here they are:

Language Arts
The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading
First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Grade 2
Writing With Ease levels 1 and 2
MCP Plaid Phonics

Literature and Readers

Sonlight Core 2 read alouds
Sonlight Core 2 regular readers

All About Spelling Level 1

Singapore Math 2A and 2B
Math Mammoth  Grade 2 (supplement)

Story of the World Vol. 2
Story of the World Vol. 2 Activity Guide

Elemental Science Earth and Space
Handbook of Nature Study and the Outdoor Hour Challenge

Handwriting Without Tears Grade 2

Whew sounds like a lot.....we will also be participating in an art co-op twice a month using Artistic Pursuits and attending a homeschool PE class weekly. Later this week I will be posting our weekly schedule.
 I'm sure your all wondering how one can fit this all in with three children and at work from home business....I know I am:)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Homeschool Schedule Ephiany

We were planning to start our 2010-2011 homeschool year this coming Monday 9/6. However life, and out of town doctor’s appointments have gotten in the way. I will have to push back our start date to the following Monday 9/13. This late start was giving me much angst last night until I had a light bulb moment....we could switch to year round homeschooling. The more I thought about it the better it seemed. I ran the logistics through my head all night and this morning put it all down on paper. I think this is the answer to many of the homeschool challenges we faced last year...namely BURNOUT.
Our new schedule will consist of mainly six week school sessions with one week breaks in between. The exceptions will be two week breaks at Christmas and birthdays, and a six week break for summer. This works out to 36 weeks of school and 14 weeks of breaks. It will leaves us with 2 extra weeks of breaks to use throughout the year for floating holidays or just life happenings :)

So here is a rough sketch of our new academic calendar:

Sept. 13-Oct. 22     6 weeks school
Oct. 23-Oct. 31      1 week break
Nov. 1-Nov. 19      3 weeks school
Nov. 20-Nov. 28    1 week break
Nov. 29-Dec. 17    3 weeks school
Dec. 18-Jan. 2        2 week break
Jan. 3-Feb. 11        6 weeks school
Feb. 12-Feb. 20     1 week break
Feb. 21-Apr. 1       6 weeks school
Apr. 2-Apr. 17       2 week break
Apr. 18-May 27     6 weeks school
May 28-Jun. 5        1 week break
Jun. 6-Jul. 1            4 weeks school
Jul. 2-Jul. 10           1 week break
Jul. 11-Jul. 22         2 weeks school
Jul. 23-Sept.2         6 week break

I am happy to have one more week to get things organized for the school year and this schedule really fits our family dynamics so much better than the traditional school calendar. I have high hopes for a successful year now!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Craft Hope....Pillowcase Project.

Today I started sewing my pillowcases for Craft Hope project #9.  Craft Hope is a love inspired project designed to share handmade crafts with those who need them. It is their hope to combine their love for crafting and desire to help others into projects that make a difference around the world.  In support of pediatric cancer month Craft Hope is teaming up with ConKerr Caner to make pillowcases for terminally ill children. ConKerr Cancer was established two years ago to put smiles upon the faces of terminally ill children in the hospital. They provide bright and cheery handmade pillowcases for these children. They have succeeded in delivering 225,000 pillowcases up to this date. They have a goal of providing a beautiful pillowcase for every seriously ill child in North America by 2012.  Here is the pattern ConKerr Cancer provides for making the pillowcase. Please feel free to use whatever pattern you’d like, but make it for a standard size pillow. This page provides a regional directory of hospitals and coordinators for ConKerr.   Please direct questions and mail pillowcases to the coordinator in your area. Please do not mail the pillowcases directly to the hospital.   The deadline for this project is September 15th. So get to sewing and spread the seeds of hope one stitch at a time.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Calm Before The Storm

It seems hurricane Earl is headed our way.  Yesterday we decided to venture to the beach and observe the already raging sea.  I am often awe struck by the sheer destructive force of Mother Nature, yesterday was no exception.  The ocean churned and exploded onto the shore with each passing wave.  The children were  mesmerized by it's power.  The duplicity of the ocean is a lesson best learned early in life, we have taught our children to respect it from the beginning. 

I'm using this opportunity to explore the topic of hurricanes with the children. We are reading from the Don't Know Much About Planet Earth and Eyewitness Explorers Weather books.  We also found great information on these websites Weather Wiz Kids  Hurricanes-A Unit Study for Kids .  We will be preparing our hurricane disaster kits tonight and bunkering down for tomorrows storm.  I will keep you all posted how we fare!