Thursday, December 24, 2009

Catch Up

Oh, we have been bad bloggers. Sorry. Alas, it is Christmas, and I am making about 1/2 our presents, so that has been a major focus. In addition, we have all had a bad bad cold, one that ruptured Winnie's ear drum, so yeah, not so good.

Now, however, we are all on the mend and ready for Christmas tomorrow.

But for your viewing pleasure, here's a recap of the past week or so (I promise no pictures of the yucky ear).

Zhara designed and drew this on the computer. I thought it was pretty gorgeous.

A few days ago we had "board game day," where all we did was play board games all day. It was awesome. Winnie won Pretty Pretty Princess.

Zhara and I played a 4 hour game of Monopoly. She got REALLY good at doing math in her head.

Angus found alternative uses for Jenga

We don't have pictures, but we also took dad to visit Moon Marble last week and we picked up more pieces for our marble run, which the kids have been putting to good use. Dad had lots of fun, BTW.

Last Sunday we went to Union Station to see the Christmas train. It was a long wait, but the kids had fun and the train, as always, was beautiful.

We are Unitarians, and I am an Atheist, but Angus goes to a Baptist preschool three mornings a week because they are an awesome place, with low key people, and he loves playing with his friends there. So, of course, he got picked to play Joseph in the Christmas pageant. Hilarious. He decided to wear a mohawk for the occasion. Perfect. And the preschool teachers loved it.

Happy Holidays, everybody!

Monday, December 14, 2009

That's How the Cupcakes Party!

On Sunday Zhara threw her Holiday Tea for her homeschool Cupcakes group. The Cupcakes are basically a group for tween girly girls, who just happened to be homeschooled. They are the closest group of girls. They are just so happy together. They don't moan or gripe or fight. They are sweet and kind and polite. It was a lovely time. The girls decorated (and ate) cupcakes, and made snowmen out of paper plates, and played in Zhara's room, and played board games on the big couch, and just had a blast. We will DEFINITELY do this again soon.

Some of the tons of cupcakes the girls decorated.

The Little Kids on Exploration

On Saturday afternoon Zhara went with her Girl Scout Troop to see the local children's production of Little House on the Prairie, so the little kids and dad and I explored the fun of Union Station (where Papa sets up the model trains) and Crown Center. We all had such a good time.

Playing on the outside winter playground.

Thoroughly enjoying the candy canes we bought at the candy store.

Looking at the gingerbread house display... well, and adoring our brother.

Throwing pennies in the hotel fountain.

Crafting at Burr Oak Woods

We drove out to Burr Oak Woods on Saturday morning for their Holiday nature craft extravaganza. The kids had a blast making Christmas tree ornaments out of seed pods and acorns and pine cones and the like. They also had a great deal of fun running around and looking at the nature center when we were done making crafts.

Visiting with some of the "nature" who had escaped the bitter cold outside by nestling down inside the nature center.

Wednesday found the talking Smoky the Bear absolutely enthralling.

Remember when daddy explained tree rings to us? We saw a tree ring from the year Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Pretty darn cool.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snowy Fun

I will say, our time in the snow was short-lived. Angus got snow down inside his coat and he was toast after that. Zhara declined to go outside all together due to the cold. They were cute attempting to make and throw snowballs that were completely unpackable, though.

Science Tuesday Continued, With Added Snow Action!

Last week when we went to the library we found this book. It is AWESOME! Zhara and dad decided to tackle two of the experiments tonight. Here are some pictures of them making Frankenstein's hand with baking soda and vinegar. I swear I did not encourage "Science Tuesday," she just decided she wasn't done this evening doing experiments, so who was I to say "no." I even got her to finish cleaning her room (with me helping) before she did these experiments. Who knew that someday she would become a kid who could be bribed to clean with science experiments. Honestly, who knew.

Of course, we still spend a lot of time during the day watching TV, playing Stardoll (a fashion design computer game Zhara is obsessed with on-line), and playing Legos, but we'll take whatever.

It got super cold last night and snowed, so the kids desperately want to go out and play in the snow. I am not sure how long they're going to last when it's 12 degrees outside, but they will still have fun. Too bad it is really too cold to pack at all, which means no snowmen right now. Plus, there just isn't that much of it, yet.

View from our front room.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Science Tuesday

So today the kids decided to craft their own science experiments. This involved a lot of water and ice usage, so I shooed them into the bathroom. They did not want my help, so I left them pretty much alone, with caveats to be careful of the hot water, and to ask your older sister before you chuck something in the water bucket. They did multiple experiments, involving hot, warm, and cold water, and the use of ice in each. Also, what temperature water magazine disintegrates in faster, and "does it float?" where a variety of items from our home got dropped in water to determine their flotation abilities.

They seemed to have a good time. At my suggestion, Zhara took some notes on "does it float?," and she relayed what she learned about the melting of ice and the feeling of the water at different water temperatures to dad when he got home tonight at dinner. Unschooling at it's finest, peeps!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rock on, Zhara!

After guitar lessons (and dinner) tonight, Zhara gave us a concert. She did such an amazingly good job. She has Twinkle Twinkle Little Star memorized, and can play it quite quickly, and she played us both Jingle Bells (which she just started working on in lessons the other day), and another song that she is making up. She wanted to write music, so I bought her some composition paper last week and she is working on writing some of her own songs. So freakin' cool.


I'm taking a minute while the children play a rowdy game of Snow Man, Snow Man, Reindeer (duck, duck, goose) in the other room. Hopefully we won't end up in the ER. Wanted to post about our mosaic project today. We took a cue from the Story of the World activity book and decided to do plaster of paris mosaics today, since we finished listening to the Byzantine section and it highlighted the amazing mosaic architecture. We decided to make ours into stepping stones. The kids had a blast. Zhara went for decorative. Winnie and Angus went for quantity of materials used. I think they all look great, though I think across the board there is too much stuff in them to actually walk on them, even in the house, but whatever. They can use them as door stops in their room.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Great Timeline Project

So I was reading an unschooling book the other day and one of the contributors mentioned that her children had created a timeline out of butcher paper that ran down their hallway. Then everytime they studied a new time period, or person, they would add it to the timeline to give the kids a sense of contextually when that person lived or event happened. Zhara and I talked about it, and she thought that was awesome. So this morning we created our own, and we added a few things that we have learned about recently. It's exciting because Zhara is writing the time periods up there, so she can practice her spelling and her handwriting, as well as getting a sense when things happened.

We saw Santa

We went downtown on Friday night for the holiday lighting. OMG, it was so cold -- in the teens. Everyone had written their letter to Santa earlier in the day, and we gave him the letters and the kids told him what they wanted. He and Ms. Claus arrived via rocket-powered sleigh. Pretty cool. The kids got coloring books and a candy cane from Santa, then we went home and cuddled under the blankets to warm up. Brrrr!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Losing Our Marbles

On Tuesday (which was a super crazy day BTW, can you tell?) we also went to Moon Marble. If you are ever in Kansas City and you are looking for an awesome place to go. Go here. The kids had so much fun. I can promise you, we will go again and again.

We watched them make marbles, then we bought some marbles -- they have thousands of different kinds. The kids got to play with tons of fun games and marble runs and look at all the toys for sale. I must have said, "Oh my god, I had one of those as a kid a hundred times." It was just a perfect time.

Justinian and More Fun History

We have been having a lot of fun with history in the past two weeks. We've been listening to the Story of the World when we're in the car, and the kids are really loving it. They ask for it now. We learned about Justinian and his very strong ruling wife, the Empress, Theodora, of the Byzantine Empire.

We ordered the Middle Ages activity book to go along with what we're listening to. It arrived yesterday, and we are excited to do some of the fun things. There are meals to cook, paper dolls, and all kinds of fun craft activities. Very exciting.

Zhara and I are also reading the final Kaya American Girl book for her American Girl Club that meets this afternoon. So we are learning about the Nez Perce before the white man's appearance. It is nice because it is written with the help of current Nez Perce elders, so in many ways, it is a look into a different and ancient culture for Zhara that she wouldn't get any other way.

We start Josefina, the story of a New Mexico girl from 1824 next. We will work our way through that whole series with the Club. Zhara is really starting to love history, which makes her mom, that loves history, ever so excited.

Preschool Power Pals Part Deux

So we went to Preschool Power Pals again on Tuesday. So much fun. The kids had a blast with Mitch making hand and food print penguins, walrus paper bag puppets, "polar bear foot" snacks, playing on the floor with toys, reading books, singing and just having a blast with polar bear, puppet, and walrus stuff.