Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Saying Grace at Redwall

Adam and I finished the seventh book in Brian Jacques'  Redwall Series last night.  One of the things we love most about the series is the feasting and the descriptions of the many breads, cheeses, pies, soups and salads the Redwallers prepare and  thoroughly enjoy. They have no guilt about eating well at feasting times. Feasts are held to honor lost loved ones, to celebrate the end of quests and wars, to mark homecomings, and for the naming of seasons.  The Redwallers are creatures of peace and gentleness with a deep connection to each other, their past and their heroes.  But while they feel sadness and losses keenly, they always look toward youngsters, new life and the turning of the seasons for comfort.  They do not wallow.  They feast and move on.  At Redwall there is always room for good-hearted creatures at the table.  The moles and the otters sit with the mice and the badgers.   Here is the simple Redwall Grace written by Brian Jacques:

"Squirrels, otters, hedgehogs, mice,
Moles with fur like sable,
Gathered in good spirits all,
Round the festive table.
Sit we down to eat and drink.
Friends, before we do, let's think,
Fruit of forest, field and banks,
To the seasons we give thanks."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bathing Your Pet Guinea Pig

Oh boy did I need this just now! Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the specifics of my life that I forget that there are people out there washing guinea pigs. I found it oddly cheering on this cold, gray, rainy Thursday and I hope you do, too. The only disappointment was that there was no blow drying at the end. Kate: Thanks for focusing my mind on guinea pigs this week!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Morning Frost

The morning frost through Adam's lens.

Friday, October 29, 2010


At the train station

October's End

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Goodbye Old House


Solo Bananagrams

Table Snapshot

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Daily Writing Prompts from Heartwork

From Kate's creativity blog HEARTWORK :

"While I will be on some sort of sleep deprived and certainly insane  hiatus to take care of a new baby, I wanted to post a prompt a day in November– for those of you writing fiction, non-fiction, and journaling.  Questions, things to think about, image snippets…. the posts will be short, intended to prime the pump or loosen the knots that sometimes hold us back.  Sometimes writing silliness can get us to where we need to go with our “real” work.  (And sometimes? Sometimes the silliness turns out to be the real stuff afterall.)"

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ten Things Plus Three

Ten things I have learned and re-learned this week:
1. It feels great to donate items at a church rummage sale. Beyond great.

2. One can fit a lot of stuff into a Subaru with no kids in the back.

3. If you are a mother and you leave the house for less than 2 hours...say to go to a church... you might return to find that everything has gone to utter hell in your absence even though you set everyone up for success.

4. Even though things have gone to hell, you can still feel happy and smug about getting all those old toys out of the house with nobody noticing and grabbing stuff back out of the boxes!

5. Even though there is a lot of crying, blood and saliva, things may be happening as they should.

6. I can pull a hanging-by-a-thread tooth out of a distraught child's mouth and my husband can't. ( Note: DH read this and said he could pull a tooth...but wouldn't...which turns out to be almost the same IMHO)

7. Sometimes roosters lead a feeding frenzy, eating eggs that young hens have laid on the coop floor. And it is an ugly scene to observe.

8. Hens don't seem to relax when living with a rooster.

9. I like acoustic guitars way more than electric guitars.  Especially when they are in my living room and the player is doing Smoke on the Water.

10. I feel great being off of wheat products!!!!!

11. My 13 year old has a size 13 foot.

12. I love snickers bars but I get blue and feel off when I eat stuff like that.

13. I was 13 when I started smoking. Holy Crap that is awful.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Seeds, Fruits, Eggs and Flowers

Seed Hunt and a Female Cricket


Volunteers... and an egg
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Late Summer


Big Griff

Triple Yolk!
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Our Third Grade Curriculum

Unlike my eighth grader, my younger son has never attended school.  One of the biggest differences between the boys is that my third grader, free of any connection with a school "year" or school "day", is also less likely to think of an activity as "school work". What a breath of fresh air that is!  He does ask sometimes if what we are doing is loggable because he hears me discussing his older brother's activities in those terms.  He is also wonderfully free as he pursues activities that would crush him in most school situations. His fondness for cooking and his passion for knitting would surely be extinguished in a an hour of traditional school.  He did remark that he did not like knitting on pink needles (my only size 5 10" needles) but when his big brother told him knitting was somewhat girly, my third grader said he disagreed and besides he didn't care. Hah! Aside from the above differences, my third grader is also a mathematical being.  While my first son was talking to me as he exited the womb and continues to excel with all things to do with words, my second son was, and is, all about movement and math.  He reads beautifully, but really does not like handwriting. He loves the computer.  Our choices for this year's curriculum reflect our youngest's particular likes, dislikes, abilities and needs.
Math  Teaching Textbooks Math 4 , flash cards for facts practice, Math Missions, supplemental activities as desired. I don't want to push him but will follow his lead when he wants challenge.  We had a lot of fun with decimals this summer with mile markers on the highway and a pedometer on our walks!
American History Cornerstones of Freedom series (we have 50+ of these thanks to EBay and hand-me-downs;, Children's World Atlas, The Young People's Atlas of the United States,If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution,  The American Story, games such as Made For Trade and Professor Noggin
Violin Group violin at a nearly music school
Reading We read constantly around here.  We will continue with read aloud time (we are on the 4th book of the Redwall series right now) and independent reading time (he is reading My Side of the Mountain); I have my son read aloud to me often from fiction, recipes, patterns, directions and other nonfiction. We will tie some fiction and nonfiction reading into our American History
Writing This year we will continue with Journaling and writing for real life. We will try Italic Handwriting Cursive Book C and see how it goes.  I will encourage handwriting wherever possible but for longer things I will have him use a keyboard or dictate to me.
Fiber Arts and Cooking  We will follow these interests as far as they take him. So far he has numerous bookmarks and two baby hats completed plus many sample squares as he learns stitches. Within a month's time he learned all basic knitting techniques.  He needs help deciphering patterns written for adults. Knitting and Crocheting from the Teach Yourself Visually series has been very helpful. We use YouTube videos when we get confused!
Science Gardening, our pond, woods, backyard, chickens, local parks, lakes, the night sky...all of these are great for exploration and inquiry. We use what we encounter.  We do experiments and activities from the wonderful Janice Van Cleave series Science for Every Kid. We have Earth Science, Ecology, Physics, Chemistry, Constellations and there are many more at the library.  Digital Blue microscope, binoculars, One Small Square series, Zoobooks
Hapkido Continued review for the Black Belt test sometime this year.
Movement This is a child who needs to move!  He enjoys Yoga, Rec. Dept. sports, baseball in the spring, biking, scootering and going for walks and running around with a boisterous Golden Retriever.

Other things we include are a Young Naturalist program, magazines like Spider, our Homeschool Group, working with sculpey, supplemental worksheets, child initiated projects, animal care and volunteering/donating, library trips and other excursions to places of interest and, of course, socializing with people of all ages.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pick Your Own

We had not been to this farm for four years even though it is a short drive from our home. It sits on top of a ridge and the approach is a dirt road past old barns and equipment and through apple trees. It feels like a trip back in time. There is a farm stand with a friendly teenager reading Steinbeck. The rooster crows. The ancient Copper Beech behind the stand is even more enormous every time I see it whereas some other things seem to shrink with time. Aside from freaking out over yellowjackets on fallen peaches it was just right.

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