Saturday, November 20, 2010

Outdoor Hour...Maple Trees

We don't have any maple trees in the yard to study.  So, there are two beautiful maples on one of the roads near our house.  I stopped while we were out one day and picked several of the leaves for close-up observation.  The leaves were beautiful and I knew the little ones would do a great job replicating the colors.  They both tried to draw the leaves, but decided they wanted me to trace the leaves like I was doing for LouLou.  Here are the beautiful, bright drawings of the maple leaves...
Bo decided to color his maple leaf using the colored pencils.
Boo used chalk pastels.  He colored the one I traced on the left and he drew and colored the one on the right in springtime colors.
LouLou wanted to color a pretty leaf too, she loves using chalk pastels.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Outdoor Nature Hour...Oak Trees

We began the study of oak trees by taking at the close look at the pin oak tree we planted for Bo when he was a baby.  This tree has been growing for six years now.  Here is a look at the tree when we planted it...

Here is the tree today...
We gathered leaves from the tree and made a bark rub...

Next, we studied the large oak tree by the road.  I'm not sure what kind it is, the leaves look a lot like the pin oak leaves.  Here is Boo making a rubbing of the bark.  We also gathered leaves.
We brought the leaves inside and made leaf rubbings for our nature notebooks.  The boys also picked up several acorns and sketched them as well.
We gathered leaves from a water oak in the edge of our woods.  The boys noticed that the water oaks leave were much smaller than the other varieties.  They thought the pin oak bark seemed much smoother than the bark of the oak that is next to the road.

After we finished our nature journal entries...

Bo sketched his oak tree.  I thought it looked great...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rainy Day Fun...

It has been so beautiful this summer and fall.  We have not had very many rainy days.  The kids have spent much of their time coming and going from outside whenever they pleased.  So, Monday and Tuesday when it rained almost all day, they didn't quite know what to do.  Here are some things we did to stay busy inside while we got some much needed rain outside...

The boys made their first ever attempts at sewing buttons.  They did get a little frustrated.  I ended up getting the lacing cards out and telling them to practice on those for awhile.
I made a tent and it looked like a covered wagon,  So they got the rocking horse hitched up and they were off!  The boys really wanted LouLou to wear the stayed on only for the picture.
With the covered wagon disassembled it was time for playdough.  Yes, they love it and yes it gets all over the floor and yes I have to dig it out of Little Bitty's mouth...but it entertained them while I cooked supper.

We also sketched a pumpkin and a gourd and painted them with watercolor.

Our Cuties...

And then there's LouLou!  It's so hard to get a good picture of her.  She usually doesn't want to smile and she didn't want to climb the fence because it hurt her hands:-(

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembering Our Veterans

Bo, our oldest can't seem to read enough, watch enough or play enough about army men, battles and wars.  He is so interested in this part of history.  Last week we studied World War II.  We used a couple of great resources that I would highly recommend.
We began the week by watching The League of Grateful Sons.  This is a documentary put together by Vision Forum.  It was a wonderful reminder of the sacrifice that so many families have made for our freedom.  I shed a few tears...and daddy was holding them back...seriously worth watching.

We then read a chapter each day from Coming In on a Wing and a Prayer.  When I would take this book out each day to read Bo would cheer.  He absolutely loves history.  I am so thankful he is getting to experience the many wonderful stories of people throughout history and not just memorizing dates and places.

At breakfast this morning I explained that today was Veteran's Day.  We discussed what being a veteran means and after breakfast we made some thank you cards to carry to our local nursing home and give out to the veterans there.  As the boys worked on the cards, I read The Wall by Eve Bunting.

We were able to hand out five thank you cards at the local nursing home.  There was one man who really talked to us a lot and he showed us a picture of himself and a friend in World War II.  He was finally awarded the Bronze Star last year.  Our local paper is supposed to have an article about him on Sunday.  We were very blessed to be able to visit with him for a little while today.
Duty is the most sublime word in our language.  Do your duty in all things.  You cannot do more.  You should never wish to do less.  -Robert E. Lee
After our visit at the nursing home, we went to the local Veteran's Memorial Park.  Here are the littles around the monument.  My great-grandmother's uncle's name is on the monument.  He was killed during World War II.  Bo wanted to find a piece of paper and make a rubbing of his name, but we did not have any.  I told him we would come back and do it another day.
And just so you know how much Bo really loves anything that has to do with wars and battles, here is my latest purchase...
He spotted this lovely jacket at the thrift store about a month ago.  He desperately wanted me to buy it for him that day because he could wear it as an officer's jacket and pretend he was Stonewall Jackson.  I didn't buy it that day because it wasn't on sale.  So when we went back this week, he remembered that jacket had a blue tag and when we walk in the door he says, "Mom blue tags are on sale today!"  I told him to go see if they still had the jacket...and of course...they did.  So he is one happy boy now.  Either Bo or Boo has had that jacket on since we bought it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nature Study Unplanned

While outside playing, Miss LouLou spotted this beautiful spider on the fence.  The boys ran in to tell me I had to come see the most beautiful spider they had ever seen.  I grabbed the camera and they grabbed their nature notebooks.  We marveled over the lovely design and bold colors.  We talked about our Creator and how awesome is His creation.  The little began drawing the spider.  They wanted to get the colors and design just right.

marbled orb weaver
(the pic is blurry, I can't get my video/camera set to focus on small objects)

We learned that these beautiful spiders weave webs in new places every day.

little drawing the orb weaver

I was so excited that the littles took the initiative to investigate this beautiful spider and draw it in their notebooks.  Spending time outdoors and teaching them to observe their surroundings is beginning to pay off.
 Boo's orb weaver
Bo's orb weaver
LouLou cut her drawing up with the scissors.

Monday, November 8, 2010

How To Bake Eight Loaves Of Bread With Three Young Children...

First, Don't think about it too much or you might talk yourself out of it...
Next, hand them the ingredients one at a time...
Then, hope that they did not add any extra ingredients...
Finally, eat the loaf that fell apart for a snack.
Seriously, we had a great went very arguing...they cooperated wonderfully. 
Best of all, we counted it as our math lesson... all the measuring and counting know?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Three hours...A Little Effort...And

A whole lot of homemade salves, chapstick and facial creams.  Seriously, I could not believe how much stuff I ended up with...for us...for gifts.  But the best part was how easy it was to make.

About 3-4 weeks before I decided to make the salves, I placed my herbs in wide mouth mason jars, covered them with olive oil and put them out in the sunshine.  Shake daily if you remember.  This is called a cold infusion. The hardest and messiest part was straining the herbs after the infusion was finished.  I used a cheese cloth and poured the herbs onto it and squeezed all of the oil out.  I then placed the infused oil into another jar because it was a couple more weeks until I got around to salve making.

Salve making day arrived.  I heated the infused oil and beeswax pastilles.  It takes the beeswax a little while to melt.  While it was slowly melting, I was free to do other things that needed to be done.  I added 30-50 drops of tea tree oil after I removed it from the heat. I put a little bit of mixture on a spoon and put it in the fridge for a couple of minutes.  The consistency was great, so I poured the salve mixture into the containers to allow to harden.

Here are the salve making supplies.
Here is the beeswax and oil being heated.
I made...
Healing Green Salve  it contains...
echinacea root
echinacea leaf
comfrey leaf
yarrow flower
tea tree oil

Diaper Rash Salve
calendula flower
comfrey leaf
St. John's Wort flower

Muscle Rub Salve
St. John's Wort flower
Arnica flower
Lobelia leaf
Comfrey Leaf
Peppermint Leaf

This was quick and easy, so I decided to make chapstick.  This turned out great.  It is the best chapstick I have ever used.  It is very soothing.  I had bought several brands of organic chapstick before and it always seemed to dry my lips out.  I was very pleased with my 42 tubes of chapstick.  

3 tablespoons beeswax pastilles
3 tablespoons cocoa butter
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
50 drops peppermint essential oil
25 drops orange essential oil

I also made Rosemary's Perfect Cream from Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal
It is fabulous.  It has cocoa butter and smells slightly of chocolate when it is first applied.  It only takes a small amount.  This recipe will go very far.
Since the boys have had Poison Ivy, I made a cream for this as well. I haven't used it yet, but I'll have it on hand when I need it.

Next on my list...shampoo and tinctures