Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy 14th Birthday, Beanie!!!

Happy 14th birthday, little Beanie! Wow- where does the time go??? It is hard to believe you are already 14! There is so much to love about you. We love your smile, your cute little glances, your brilliant mind. You have such a kind and compassionate heart, and you are such a blessing to everyone around you. It is a joy to have you in our family. Happy birthday! We hope your special day is as special as you are...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cone Trees

This week, our children made these lovely little Christmas trees, using ice cream cones and lots of tasty decorations.
It was fun seeing how each of them made a unique Christmas tree, but the best part of all was eating it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More Christmas Fun

My parents took the kids downtown to see the lights and the huge Christmas tree. This is an annual tradition for our family and the kids really enjoy going and seeing all the lights, displays, and of course the tree!
Around here, our homeschooling days are pretty relaxed. We are trying to get the basics done each day, while throwing in some fun Christmas activities.
They love playing Stuff Your Stocking game!
They also enjoy making lots of different Christmas ornaments.
Our little guy has enjoyed doing some fun Christmas math activities such as this one below, where he has to come up with different addition problems, using the mini marshmallows and the hot chocolate mug board.
Speaking of marshmallows, aren't these little gingerbread marshmallows so cute??? We read all about the gingerbread man and I thought these marshmallows went along with the story perfectly!

The girls had fun building these little foam gingerbread houses. I picked them up at Michael's after Christmas last year for practically nothing! So many crafts, so little time...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!

Christmas is definitely in the air around here! Recently, my brother took our two girls to the local zoo to see their annual Christmas display.
There are lots of beautiful lights, and you can see all the animals there as well as go on the various rides.
The only thing about where we live, is that fake snow you see in the picture above is as close to cold as we will get! Just to clarify, here is my son's weather report for today-
It was close to 80 degrees today! The only cold we will feel this week is the air coming out of our air conditioner vents...
That's ok though. We still get into the spirit of things, with all the Christmas parties and fun activities. And who can resist a special peppermint treat at Starbucks???
Pure delight...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Around the World

This weekend, we traveled the globe, celebrating Christmas Around the World with our H.E.A.R.T. Homeschool Group.
We transformed our school room into a display area for all the items we wanted to include in our presentation.
This year, our country was Portugal. We had many postcards, pictures, etc... from our trip there a few months ago. We also have a fairly large doll collection, as well as boats and pottery.
The kids did a fantastic job! We started out in our front yard, where my little boy came "sailing" in on his Portuguese boat made by Daddy! Our little girl read about the traditions in Portugal at Christmas time. Then, we all headed inside and our little girl sang Silent Night in Portuguese, while her older sister played on the piano. Then the kids talked about the various displays. After that, we all enjoyed a delicious meal of Portuguese kale soup, sausage sandwiches, and rice pudding.

Each family is given 45 minutes to complete everything. Then, we all drive to the next family's home and celebrate the country they have chosen!
The second country we visited was Canada. We enjoyed some tasty mini meat pies. The kids made candy and participated in a cookie swap, which is a Christmas tradition in Canada.
The next country we traveled to was Germany.
In Germany, we learned all about the Christmas traditions and ate some yummy German food.
The three "German children"  did a wonderful job, creating a project board on Germany, as well as doing an oral presentation. They passed out an authentic German nutcracker and some beautiful German Christmas ornaments.

The fourth stop on our travels was Switzerland.
We learned all about the large hats the people parade around in with lights inside them, and saw a video depicting Christmas in Switzerland. We ate different types of cheese, candy, and had hot chocolate.
Our last stop was in France. We were given Euros to spend at all the cute little French boutiques that were set up around the house.

Everyone received berets to wear!
They also did presentations and told us about gift giving in France.
Then we all enjoyed tasty chicken cordon bleu, cheesy scalloped potatoes, and loads of desserts.

We had such a wonderful day with all our homeschool friends. The kids and adults learned so much, and we can't wait until next year's Christmas Around the World.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Keepers at Home

This week at our Keepers at Home meeting, the girls made pumpkin pie tarts as part of their Snacks and Drinks skill award. First, we all washed our hands. In addition to learning how to bake, cook, etc...  the girls also learn about all the different appliances, utensils, and kitchen safety.
I usually divide the girls into 2 groups, with a nice age range. This way, all the girls have a chance to do several different jobs, and the older ones are able to teach the younger ones things they may already know.

Each group is given a Keeper mom to assist with the preparations.
Each girl was able to create 3 of their own pumpkin pie tarts.
The best part came when we were finally able to eat our little tarts! So yummy... This little Keeper gave it a "thumbs up".

Monday, November 21, 2011

Great American Teach-In

A few days ago, our oldest daughter participated in the Great American Teach-In, an annual event where people from the community are invited to speak to students about their career, hobbies, or really anything! Since our daughter recently had her book
Tampa Bay From A to Z published, she was invited to speak at the elementary school she attended several years ago.
When we first arrived at the school, we were taken to an office to sit for a while and wait for her first class. There were all sorts of goodies for us to eat!
Here she is, outside of the first classroom she was about to visit. She was nervous, but I just kept reminding her that these were little kids and to just be herself!
Bean was given a very full schedule! She rotated to a different classroom every 30 minutes, and some of the rooms had 2 or 3 classes together!
Here she is, in one of the second grade classrooms. The children were so attentive and I loved their questions.
It was really fun seeing how each class was different. In some classes, she read the entire book. In others, the teacher took turns reading with her.
At the end of the day, we visited the media center to give a book to the library. Here she is, signing the book.
It was such a busy, tiring day for her but she inspired so many children to want to write and create their own books!