Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2015-2016!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The kids had their Christmas Piano recitals and I wanted to publish them as I was so proud of them!  They both worked so hard!
MarioFan played the first verse of Silent night and he is coming along nicely in his skills

Firedrake played the hardest piece she has ever learned.  It is called 'What Child is This' by David Lanz who is a new age pianist...which seems to be the style of piano music Firedrake is drawn too.

Kids with their piano teacher after the performance

To celebrate a job well done we went out to Cracker Barrel for lunch!
Over the last week we have done lots of Christmas activities....

Like baking lots of cookies
Seeing the Christmas lights at the Botanical gardens

Getting a family picture in a life size snow globe:)

I love Christmas lights 

I had over 8 various teacher gifts for the kids various activities that I needed to shop for.  This year the kids and I made Bath fizzies-- I used this recipe from Martha Stewart because it did not have any corn starch in it.  I have never made these before so it was a learning experience for all and my first batch was an epic fail but eventually I figured out the proper water ratio:)  We have a Lavender farm near us so I purchased Lavender and crushed it up to add to the bath fizzies along with some Lavender essence.

I used a plastic mold to shape them but I had lots of difficulty keeping them in a round shape 

What they were suppose to look like:)

In the end we ended up with half spheres but it still worked out great.  Both the kids tried  two of them out prior to us bagging them up to make sure the worked properly:)   Thankfully they did
gifts wrapped and all have been delivered by the children.

I will be on a holiday break and won't get back to my blogging until the New Year (around the 8th).

Friday, 18 December 2015

Weekly Wrap Up 12/18/15

This is the week of attending Christmas Parties!  The kids each had a Christmas party to attend and so did my husband and I!  The Christmas tree is up and most of the presents have been bought.  Still have to do baking and wrap presents but it looks like I might actually get it all done this Christmas!
I am looking forward to having a week off to relax between Christmas and New Year!  I plan to work in my stain glass studio and create something!

MarioFan attended the Homelink Christmas Party Friday morning which was for middle school and younger crowd.  They played lots of games and did some crafts

For the gift exchanged they did a very neat left right story...I have never seen this before and it was so much fun.  You can find several examples on the web.  This is the version that was used at the party

Later that evening Firedrak had her party with the highschoolers which was part dance. games and tons of food!

A Jenga Competition ensued!
 My husband is back in town after being away for two weeks so we are starting to do our family traditions to get us into the mood Christmas!
We always try to attend at least one Christmas play.  Since both kids have read the Christmas Carol book for school we went to see a local production put on by children.  It was very well done!

I Love the local live nativity that is done by this church, we try to go to it every year!
It is called The Return to Bethlehem and tell the story of the birth of Christ from the point of view of the towns folk and Roman citizens in Bethlehem

the congregation dress up and play the roles of the shop keepers, Roman soldiers etc.

Each stop along the way tells a little of what the people see and hear 

Of course it ends with a baby.  It is so well done, I just love it!
We also had another opportunity to volunteer for an hour ringing the Salvation Army kettle bell!
The kids really got into the spirit and sang songs and loved dressing up in Christmas colors.  It was a beautiful day to ring the bell and we had lots of donations during our one hour shift!

We haven't been neglecting our school work this is the last week of our coop classes before winter break.  So we are just tying up loose ends to make sure we are at a good stopping place by the 23rd.

Firedrake had a great lab experiment that she has been working on, we are using EO Wilson's biology book thru Apple iTunes.

The chapter she is working on is learning about cells and osmosis.  First we had to decalcified the eggs 

carefully scrub off all of the shell leaving the egg bare
We were looking at all the different variables that occur that might effect the rate of osmosis, including temperature and saline level.  I think we de-shelled about 15 eggs for these experiments!

This one was the kids favorite and also the only one that visibly showed results...all the others needed to use a scale to note the subtle weight changes.  
 Somewhere in this week we also had time to attend a Mad Science field trip!
Kids saw lots of dry ice experiments

and then worked on a mystery introducing them to forensic science

They looks at chemical reactions to identify powder left at the scene

examined finger prints 

teeth marks and many looked at many other clues to solve the mystery!  It was a lot of fun

Whew what a busy week!  Next week starts to slow down a little and we plan to take about 10 days off for our Christmas break and I have promised myself not to do any lesson planning during this time!

Friday, 11 December 2015

Weekly wrap UP 12/11/15

This week we had another volunteer opportunity--making handmade Christmas cards for the soldiers and veterans in our area thru the American Red Cross.
The group leader added some suggestions on a board to help some of the younger children with what to say!

The kids made homemade cards and wrote their message inside

We ended up for lots of cards and the children's creativity was amazing to see!  The group will be sending these cards to the Red Cross who will make sure the cards are sent to areas of those soldiers who are local to us who are away from their families this holiday season!

I finally manage to get to the science museum as MarioFan met up with a friend to see the new Ripley's believe it or not exhibit. MarioFan loves these books so he wanted to attend the exhibit. 

The boys had fun with all the exhibits.

We were not able to see the Tesla coil as I hope  (for our electrical study) as the demonstration wasn't until 3:30 pm and the boys got hungry so we left to find somewhere for lunch.  We will just have to go back:)  before our unit is over.

We are continuing our lessons this month trying to power thru so we can take a week off from Christmas and New Year.  In between baking and shopping it is crazy busy.  Luckily the kids are doing more and more work independently which is a huge help for me!  

Friday, 4 December 2015

weekly wrap up 12/4/15

Ahh it is almost Christmas and I am feeling unorganized, behind in everything and overwhelmed:(.  My husband has been traveling a lot  for work for the month of Nov and even Dec so I am trying to juggling the holiday shopping, decorating, and baking in addition to schooling!

  With the holidays coming up there has been more opportunities for volunteering.
We made Homeless bags to put in our car so anytime we see a homeless person on a street corner we can hand them this bag filled with some supplies 

Each family took home half a dozen bags to keep in their car

There were many families participating 
The completed bag--I have to admit I do not see many homeless people in the area where I do most of my traveling, but only a couple of days after making these bags the kids and I saw a person in need and handed out our bags and it felt good to be doing something.  Maybe in the past we drove past without noticing but since we know have something to give them we are noticing they are out there.  In our small way we are trying to be more aware of those less fortunate.
Just a few of the items we placed in the bags.  This is so easy to do anyone can do it.  It is something we are going to keep doing as a family on our own!

We belong to several homeschool groups and one group decided to set up religious field trips to various organizations around the area.  We started doing this when we lived in England but then we moved back stateside so we didn't complete the experience.  I want the children to understand religion, not just our own, so we have signed up for several field trips over the next few months.

The first field trip was to the Ethical Society which is a humanistic Church.  I had never heard of this organization before!    This society was founded in the late 1800's by Felix Adler who was a son of a rabbi.  

The St. Louis society is currently has the largest congregation, about 300 members.  However there are several societies through out the country, mostly the NorthEast.    Currently there is one in England and Uganda. The ethical society of St. Louis built this located about 50 years ago.

Their leader (they do not use the term clergy) took the time to describe their services and beliefs.  There are no scriptures for the society and their creation story is related to the big bang.  They celebrate the changing of the seasons and their main purpose is to  build strong people of character and promote good ethics.  Services look at art, science and philosophy and discuss ways to build a better world and life in the community.  They perform many charitable events and often work with other religious organizations in the community for charitable activities.

I must admit I found this place very interesting.  If it wasn't so far away I would probably attend a service to get a better understanding of it.

For history lessons we are working on understanding the many reason people came to the United states and we built a poster to help us remember.

For Literature both kids are reading The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and we will be attending local performance in December.

For Science MarioFan is working on a FutureLearn course on electricity and it is very good.  If you haven't checked out this type of learning check out their course schedule here MarioFan is also reading about Alexander Graham Bella and Nicola Tesla .  I am hoping to get to our local science center soon as I am told there is an example of Tesla AC motor there.

My husband and I had another date night in-between all his travels.  This time I suggested a painting class. My husband was game but was worried as he doesn't feel he is very artistic.  But he did amazing and even said he would do it again, Yay!  This class was for couples to paint two different paintings but the painting can go together.  Since we have a wine theme dining room I wanted us to try this painting together:)
The class gives step by step directions.  My husband's painting the wine glass 
While I painted the wine bottle
The finish works!  Actually this is the studio's version but you get the idea.  I put our names on the wine bottle so can't show it.  I can't wait to hang it up!

That is our week in a nutshell.  The kids and I will continue doing schooling the month of December but we will take a week's break between Christmas and New Year!