Monday, April 24, 2006

Rocket Launch!

Chase finally got to launch the rocket that he got for his birthday. The weather was perfect for it - so we headed out to the park. It was really cool. Chase loves rockets and this one shot so high into the sky - the kids were all impressed.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

On Birds and Writing...

Today the kids found that the cat had tried to get at a bird. Well, he is always doing this as is natural for cats. They found this hurt bird - and got out a box, tried to dig up worms to feed it, and generally were really loud and chaotic about it all. But they were honestly trying to help it. It unfortunately died, and Chase cried. I love it when my sword-swinging boy gets emotional about these types of things. It reminds me that he is still sensitive about smaller creatures. In any case, they did all whip out the bird books and found that it was a baby mocking bird.

They have been excited that some chickadees have found the bluebird houses that they built and put up. The one near my garden doesn't seem to be getting much action - but I think it may be too close to the road.

We had a beautiful day and spent most of it at the playground with the home school group. There were lots of kids today. I got really sunburned which takes the zing right out of you.

Yesterday Brianna and I spent some time at the coffee shop at the library going over a book about publishing children's books. We really have been learning a lot about the whole business and it seems a little daunting. She had a poem published in a magazine and a book review published in our local paper. So now she wants to submit her stories to a book publisher. She has been working really hard with grammar and spelling and rewriting. There's a part of me that doesn't want her to be disappointed, but on the other hand I admire her pluck. She doesn't have that "someday" idea that most of us grow up with. That "someday" she will be a writer. She just assumes she is. I on the other hand am still a bit chicken. ;-) I worry about rejection and wind up sticking to things that I know I am good at - and I am not too invested in. You can learn a lot from your kids. I sometimes think how fortunate I am to be home schooling and spending so much time with their creative spirits. They don't look at anything as being impossible. They are just so determined.... I wonder sometimes if I would have wound up that way if I had done things differently. I always wrote in high school. My friends and I would write stories back and forth about boys we liked and such. I saved a lot of this stuff and have read it a time or two - thinking it was really stupid. But at the time, it was a great outlet. It never seemed to be something that was real. It wasn't schoolwork - wasn't guaranteed to get me into college. It was just how I got through the school day. Brianna notes how Dave Pilkey wrote his Captain Underpants in school while he was supposed to be paying attention. We love that Christopher Paolini wrote his books as a home school teenager. It is nice to note that J.K Rowling wrote the beginnings of Harry Potter while trying to work as a secretary and being totally distracted. Can you imagine her family must have thought she would never be able to hold a job, etc. So I guess the moral of the story is that there is hope for me. A year ago I would never have written even a blog for fear that strangers would read it and think it was awful. So this in itself is a step. It forces me to write at least something - and something that is not school related and academic. I sometimes think that graduate level writing is far easier than creative fiction.
So perhaps, my daughter will have written a child's reader - that is fun and has a purpose other than teaching phonics.... and I will have a book signing someday at Borders....

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Gingerbread Bunnies Potting Shed

Here are some photos of our Bunnies Potting Shed Gingerbread house. Much thanks to the homeschool Dad for his structural expertise - and much more patience than I have ;-) Overall it was a messy, fun process! Chase wouldn't let us take his picture, but he did volunteer to help us eat it ;-)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Making Candles

Here are some photos of our candle making project. We started off with the Chemistry Wiz kit - and wound up trying to make some like my Mom used to. She used sand for her mold and melted crayons to create the colors. When you take it out of the mold, it holds the sand a bit making it look kind of rustic and interesting. In any case, it was a fun project....

Monday, April 10, 2006

View from the Font Yard

This was a neat view this afternoon. I thought the balloon next to the moon looked really cool. We had a great weekend. Brianna got to stay over at a friend's house and went to an art festival. I took Lexi to the Pennsylvania Herb Fest - and she enjoyed it. She helped me pick out some new herbs for the garden - a pineapple sage, pineapple mint, golden oregano and we found perennial basil (you do have to bring it in before the frost). We had a great time tasting all kinds of goodies and came home with some herbs that you add into cream cheese, some new teas and a bottle of sparkling apple cider from a local orchard. I got to listen to a Medicinal Herb workshop and Lexi loved that the lady presenting passed around all these pictures of herbs. She liked to guess what they were and then took to drawing pictures of them on the brochures and catalogs that we had collected. We just had a really nice time together.

On Saturday, Chase had a play date, and John was working so Lexi and I finally finished her gingerbread bunny’s potting shed. I will have to get a picture of it because it came out really cool. When Chase got home he wanted to have a "book" party. So he and Lexi filled his room with streamers and ribbon - I made up snacks and Chase had books laid out everywhere. He kind of had this library idea - but of course it was just us. So we had our snacks - and played Dominoes, and read some of his books. It was fun to just hang out there together.

Sunday we went over to our friend’s house and had a fire and roasted hot dogs and made Smore's. We all had fun. The kids all built a tee-pee. I was impressed with how they worked together and did a great job with getting it to stay up. They used a blanket around the sides to make it like a "real" Tee-pee. Kids are really creative.....

Overall - it was just a great weekend....

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Kitten Story

Brianna often tells stories to Chase and Lexi - and they laugh and laugh! It seems that the more "slapstick" comedy they contain the funnier they are. I think my favorite is the "Worker" stories(i.e Construction Worker - Chase call them workers). Usually everything falls on his head and this makes Chase laugh. In any case, she has taken the time to type out the Kitten story and illustrate a cover. So I thought I would include it here in this blog becuase
of her hard work ;-)

The Kitten Story

One day three little kittens were playing outside. The oldest was Lilly. The second was Tiger the third was Peanut. They were having a very good time when their mother came around the corner of the house.
“Kittens” she said “your Grandparents are coming today and I am going to make a coconut cream pie so stay out of Mischief Okay?”
“Okay” sang the kittens together
“Mom?”asked Lilly “can we make something for Grandma and Grandpa?”
“Of course you can” said their mother “I am going to start the pie”
“Bye mom” the kittens shouted after her
“what are we going to make” asked Tiger
“Oh I was thinking a card or something” said Lilly
“Lets go get the stuff “said Peanut
“I will get the paper” said Lilly
“I will get the Glue” said Tiger
“I will get the Markers and pencils” said Peanut So they ran to the house to get their stuff

Back in the barn they were wondering how they should make their cards “I am going to make a BIG flowery card with lots of loopy letters” said Lilly
“I am going to make a card with lots of Butterflies and bees” said Peanut
“I don’t know what to make” said Tiger
“Make one like mine” said Lilly
“No way” said Tiger “I think Grandpa and Grandma would like a paper airplane instead” He put his nose in the air to show his mind was made up and he was not changing it
“O.K. then” said Lilly and they began to make their cards.
But after awhile trouble started Peanut could not reach the table because she was too short so Lilly got her some big books from her bookcase so Peanut could reach but she dropped the glue on Tigers seat when he got up to get some paper and he came back and sat on it “Watch out” she yelled “Yikes” shouted Lilly
“Whoa” said Tiger Glue squirted every where Peanut flew upwards and got pasted to the door Tiger and Lilly got stuck to the wall just then mama cat opened the door “Ouch” said Peanut “Oh” said mama “I’m sorry- wait a second what are you doing back there”
“I’m stuck” said Peanut
“How did it happen” said mom
“I could not reach” said Peanut “And Lilly got me some books to stand on and then I dropped the glue and….and…. I’m sorry” She said
“It was not your fault” said Mom prying her off the door then going to Tiger and Lilly to help them off the wall. As Mom peeled Lilly and Tiger off the door she said “Now kittens the pie is almost ready and Grandma and Grandpa will be here any minute I need help cleaning up this mess” “Yes Mom we will help” said Lilly

So they all worked together and the mess was cleaned up in no time. “Oh my goodness the pie” screamed Mom she ran out the door to save her pie while the kittens very carefully finished the cards. Just then Mom was coming back when she ran into Grandma and Grandpa “Are we early” asked Grandma
“Why no” said Mom
“Are we late” asked Grandpa
“Of coarse not” said Mom
“Then we must be on time” said Grandma
“Where are my darling grandkittens” said Grandpa
“In the barn” said Mom “Shall we go see them?”
“Yes I think we shall” said Grandma So they went off to the barn to see the kittens who were waiting for them “Grandma” Lilly said “Grandpa” Peanut said “PIE” Tiger said
Everyone laughed and they all enjoyed coconut cream pie and each others company till dark.


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Chase learns to install a water heater...

Well - it is never boring around here! Yesterday our water heater gave out and filled the basement with water. I am filled with gratitude that it was still under warranty until June! The kicker was that they wanted $270 to install it, so we decided to do it ourselves....well John decided to do it.

There is something about kids and water! The last thing I really wanted to do was sop up all that water in the basement - but the kids thought it was great. They had buckets and cups and sponges and used the Shop Vac (which Lex calls the Vac Shop). Chase put on his bathing suit and danced around. So this became a family event. John would tell them when to turn off and on facets and have them hand him tools and stuff. Chase is always right there sucking up everything that is going on with any home fix-it job. He asks all kinds of questions like "If you throw the blow torch on the ground will it explode?" I just know that one day when he has his own house he will not have problmes with fixing and building things.

The other thing that I think is so great about John is that he is never afraid to try something and usually can figure it out. No matter what it is. He will call people and ask advice, read things about it, etc. and usually he can fix anything. He is an example to the kids that they can do anything they put their mind too. It took him three times to get the pipes all back together without leaking ;-) but that's just one of those things...

So - we have a new water heater, had an interesting day "splashing" in the basement and did spend quite a bit of the day playing outside as it was beautiful out. The kids all zonked out to Gilligan's Island... and now I really am in need of a hot shower ;-)