Silence is Golden

Today I made the girls go out to the park with me today for a walk. They were not totally interested, but I thought it was a good idea! Fresh air makes everything seem a little bit better! I took the sled and promised (bribed them) that I would pull them around. We started at the nature center and looked at the animals there, and then we headed out on the board walk. I was pulling them through the snow, while they looked for animal tracks. We saw deer tracks, rabbit tracks, and even (what we thought were) fox tracks! While we were walked, I would stop here and there to look around. What I noticed when we stopped was that girls couldn’t seem to be still. Hmmm….so I made a point to ask them for silence. It was hard, but when they were still, we could hear the birds, the wind moving through the grasses, and our own cold breath. What a great thing to take time to do. I realized that we hadn’t done that in a long time. It has been a  long time since I took time to be silent with my girls. Especially when that time is out surrounded by the gifts God created for us to enjoy!

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Silence is Golden!  How do you cultivate and embrace silence in your family?

Australia Contient Box

A read asked me to share my Australia and South America continent boxes. I was shocked (and a little ashamed) that I hadn’t gotten them up! Opps! So it is time to remedy that.  Like all of my continent boxes I made all of the cards in this one too, and though I would love for them to be 3part cards, I couldn’t afford to do it. So there are basically pictures of the continent. Our Australia box is a little shy of cool cultural treasures as I don’t know anyone who has ever been there. (if anyone has an ideas of where to get some goodies for this let me know!) So here we go:

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This box includes:
~ Pictures of Australian People
~ Pictures of Australian Food
~ Pictures of Australian Musical Instruments
~ Pictures of Australian Places
~ Pictures of Australian Birds
~ Pictures of Australian Animals
~Kangaroo, Dingo, Duck Billed platypus, wolverine, etc Figures
~Coral Reef animals from the Safari LTD Coral Reef Toob
~ Rag doll made in the Philippines
~ Hand Woven bracelet
~ Some Gem Stones from Australia
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So there you have it! This is our small collection of Australia treasures! We have not yet studied Australia this year, so we will see what the girls think is cool when we get here! I think that they will at least be interested in it because of the wallabies we had at our zoo during the summer! So what do you use to inspire geographic learning? Do you have something you would add to this box? (Please help me find new ideas!) Happy Schooling!

My Photo Discoveries

Well we have been a bit under the weather here and that has made our days less then energetic! So this afternoon, with a moments time, I thought I would practice taking pictures from different angles using my zoom and the portrait setting on my camera. With my kiddos sick and sitting (fairly) still, I tried some new techniques out on them! 🙂 I was interested to see the results. I think that I am getting some interesting shots and I look forward to doing more, but maybe when they are feeling better! Poor Babies. Here are some of the pictures I took. None of these have been retouched or fixed in anyway. And also the girls are not looking their best. I swear that hair got brushed and faces got washed even though it doesn’t look like it! Here are the pictures:

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I still have some work to do as you can see! 🙂 But I am hoping to be able to figure out the camera and all the amazing thing its supposed to do! As I took these pictures, I realized something that was just so amazing. Our eyes. We see things in crystal clear, vivid color. And when light, shadows, or objects, get in the way, all we need to do is move and everything come back into perfect focus. When we are taking pictures, we are doing nothing but trying to capture this play of light and color forever!  However, to capture the same image as the eye, a good photographer has a camera, several lens, and YEARS of experience! While our eyes just see it! Wow! What a gift and something that is something to pay attention to! How many times do we take the time to see? To see the sparkle in their eyes, the snow on a tree, or the bright colors of the flowers? What sadness to miss these things while being busy with all the random things we make so important! What do you think? Do you take the time to see?


Lego Simple Machines

Today was Lego class at our local building class! Today we were talking about simple machines and the kids were building catapults! After catapults are a lever with a fulcrum. Each team was give a sheet with three different lever configurations to build. Then they tested them to see which was the best. After that they used their best one to try and catapult a ball into a basket they built on another plate! Simple, and fun, and a great way talk about fulcrum points, force, and aiming! It was simple and yet complicated. Bunny had no problem building it, but getting the catapult to work and to get the same results each time was really hard for her! Here are some pictures:

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I was trying to encourage Bunny to make one at home too. We will see! She loves to build legos and she is really learning a lot as she plays. I love that we have the opportunity to go to these classes near by. Who knew there was so much science in toys! 🙂 Have you ever used Legos for learning? Share your ideas in the comments!  Happy Schooling!






Winter Focus

Winter has been a lot of fun here and also a lot of gray. Do you ever find that? It is amazingly beautiful when the snow if falling in delicate unique flakes all around you. The sun that they sparkles on that pristine whiteness is a gift to see. But when that sun shines for while, those beautiful white flakes turn a dirty gray color as the edges of the mud underneath it starts to show through. When that happens, there really isn’t anything outside that is pretty anymore. In fact it amazing how everything looks like it is the same color. Trees, bushes, houses, streets, everything! So how does one avoid depression with all that gray? I honestly don’t know! But today, since it was 45 degrees, and we have had a bit of a cold here, I thought that getting outside might be good for all of us. Guess what? It was! There is something so great about getting outside and in fresh air! I took the girls to the park to play and was hoping to play with my camera to get some  fun pictures. But with all the gray, it was hard to find anything that caught my eye. But then I got on the playground with my kids and I found something! Something beautiful, happy, full of life and color. The girls. I know, this is nothing new, but somehow I thought that the winter allowed for a chance to focus on the things that matter most! In the winter, the color of nature is dormant, the fun we have outside is curtailed, and there really is not much to do. But there is family. And winter seems like the perfect time to look away from the dull, gray, lonely outside, and focus inward. Toward the family that lights up our lives, and toward the happy faces that make the snow and the gray glow brilliantly together! Somehow that gray cloud seems to become a pretty silver winter atmosphere, and that brilliant snow, becomes a world of color and joy in the presence of people we love. Perhaps that is the reason for this dull gray season with moments of intense brilliance, is to make us look for the color, the joy, and the beauty in the places closest to us. After all, when we are not looking around us for beauty and entertainment, we are able to see the best things we have in their full color right next to us!

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Montessori Math is Changeing

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Montessori Math is the really one of the most iconic parts of the whole method. We all know and love the golden bead work, the rods, and the bead bars. They have taught thousands and thousands of young children to understand and love math! Here it is no different. Bunny loves math and Pup is starting to as well. However, as Bunny got older, the work of keeping up with all of the threads of the Montessori math work was too hard for me. So in order to keep up with her learning, I needed to find a curriculum. We started using Miquon math and she has been so happy! Miquon uses manipulative in their book, but the beads don’t always work. So we got the rods that the book uses, and Bunny loves them more then the beads! The beads are just like the bead bars, but with different colors. Much like the number rods, they are in metric units and get bigger with each number. So the one unit is one square centimeter. The two is 1×2 cm. You get the idea! There is no way to count the rod, but there is a ruler with a track that will show you the number of each rod. We use it to show the numbers changing with the functions too. Since Bunny loves these so much and I know Pup will start the same math as Bunny in first grade, I thought that it would be easier to show Pup her numbers with the rods instead of beads. With a slight bit of modification, the same Montessori presentations work out perfectly! We are working on the teens board and then we are going to start the golden beads (I will switch out the 10 bar for an orange 10 rod. With the other wooden 100s, and 1000s it will work out perfectly). She is very excited about both and I for one am happy to see her interested in math! I think that her ability to use the rods, like her sister, is a big motivator! Here are some pictures from her work with the rods this week!

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So there you have our new favorite math material! I really think that they can be used as an alternative to the beads. One advantage is that they can be laid next to each other easily without rolling all over. Plus they stack into all sorts of fun ways (play is learning after all). And finally, they are SOOOOO much less expensive and teach the same things as the Montessori beads. A child quickly memorizes the colors of the Montessori beads and that is a part of learning the math. They do that with the rods as well. With the track they can easily see the number and count the sections below the number to “see” it. The rods we use are Cuisenaire Rods. You can see them here! Check it out and let me know what you think! Maybe it will make your Montessori math experience easier and less expensive! Happy Counting! 😉 I linked up to Montessori Monday! Stop by to see some amazing learning ideas!


More Freezing Fun!

Well the cold snap continues here! We are still sitting at tempatures below zero with wind chills that are rivaling Alaska! But that doesn’t mean we are lock inside with nothing to do (well…..locked inside yes….level 3 snow emergency for two days now)! I have seen videos of people throwing boiling water outside and having it turn into snow magically! Now, normally it doesn’t get cold enough here to do it (we don’t live in Wesconsin) but the last few days it has been! Wind chill down to -40 means that we are arctic and so I thought it would be fun to try this out. Ok….the throwing boiling water made me nervous, but hey, its for science! 🙂 I put a pot with about an inch and a half of water on the stove to boil, then I bundled up, handed Bunny my camera, and took the boiling water outside. On a wish and a prayer, I thew it up high in the air and “magically” snow rained down! I was so excited I think I screamed! 😉 And, my darling Bunny got the picture too so that you can see! My mom was on the phone while I did this and she tried it too! We were both able to do it! (Now I am sure it is ridiculously cold here). Here is a link to explain the science on why this happens!

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After the freezing snow, I wanted to try the bubble thing. Apparently if you blow bubbles in the cold weather, they will freeze and look like beautiful glass orbs. While they did seem to freeze, none of them sat frozen on a surface to look at. They all popped mid air. However, they were frozen because when they popped, a thin wispy film of bubble fell to the ground! I managed to get one to land on the wand so the girls (who were in the warm house looking out the window) could see. It was kind of a bust. But I wondered if it were colder what it would do! Here is a link to the pictures one mom took of frozen bubbles.

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We ended the day with some snow play. It was too cold outside, but not in! Fill a plastic bin with snow and its time to play! The girls were so excited about the idea, They wanted to go outside pretty badly. We were hoping to make snowmen with some baby carrots and raisins for eyes, but the snow wouldn’t pack right. 🙁 At least it was fun.

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So there you have it! I promised more snow fun and that is what you get. Now can I keep the momentum going tomorrow too? Hmmmm….I may need to get on Pintrest and look for some fun ideas. Do you have one? What do you do when its a snowy wonderland too cold to play in?



Eating Snow


Everyone loves to eat snow right? Its something we all did as kids and less as we got older (once you realize how much dirt is in it). However, I came across the best way to eat it while I was on Pintrest last year! I wanted to do it then, but we didn’t have enough snow. This year, it is not the issue! Snow Ice Cream is amazing. Yes I just said amazing. When I saw this I thought that the girls would have fun with it, but that it would be a one time thing. Wrong. This is easy and yummy. So how do you make snow Ice Cream? Glad you asked! Here is what we did. I modified the recipe because I just threw it in as I went! 🙂

Snow Ice Cream
5-6 cup of fresh snow (make sure its clean and fresh)
1 1/2- 2 cups of half and half (I mixed whipping cream and milk)
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla (I just added a splash)

Pour everything into the bowl and mix it up! If the milk freezes and just gets clumpy, add a bit more milk and you will be fine. We served ours with sprinkles and chocolate syrup. We made this twice yesterday and I am sure we will make more today (if we don’t run out of milk)!

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I Hope you are enjoying all the snow and winter fun! With the wind chill here at below -30 for the day, we will be hanging out inside warm and cozy! Happy Snow Day!

So Snowy!

Snow! Everyone seems to be knee deep in snow from the blizzard that hit our area of the world! We got at least a foot yesterday afternoon! Now I know that this isn’t much for other people in the county, but it is more snow all at one time then we have seen in a long time here! I think we have almost three feet in the front yard! The girls were able to get outside yesterday, and Bunny built a snowman! Plus I got to got to play with my new camera in the snow getting some pretty shots of the girls! I love them! However, with the arctic temperatures that have hit the area, its too cold 30 degrees or more. So, to have a little fun, we made some snow ice cream! This recipe is all over Pintrest, but really it is so easy! I filled a big bowl with about 6 cups of snow, added a cup and a half of milk, a third a cup of sugar, and a splash of vanilla. You mix it up and serve it! If its too clumpy, you can add a splash more milk! Simple, easy, and SOOO FUN! The girls LOVED it and it was actually yummy ( I may have been a wee bit skeptical). Here are some pictures of our last few snowy days!

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Tomorrow is supposed to be even colder! So we are hoping to play a bit more with some fun frozen stuff! Stop back! I hope that you are enjoying your winter! I know we are! Happy Snow Day!

Saint Inspired Science~ Astronomy!

Well last year, my friend and I for the kids together every month for some cooking and reading fun! This year, we have decided to experiment! Literally! This year, we are picking a science theme for each month and a saint to go with it! Saints all have something that they are the patron of. So we found a saint for each scientific theme that we chose! So this month, we chose the three wisemen! While not officially saints, they do offer an amazing example of what it means to seek the Lord. It also offers us an amazing chance to discover stars! We started off by talking about stars and what they are. I read Stargazers by Gail Gibbons. Then we talked about their light and how we can see it on earth even though the light maybe millions of years old! Then we pulled out the build your own telescope kit I had gotten. Much to our disappointment, it didn’t work very well. The plan was to take our telescope outside to see the stars, but a huge snow storm put a bit of a damper on that! We will have to go out there another night! After trying to make the telescope work out, we had a fabulous Epiphany feast! Chicken soup with stars, star shaped sandwiches, Lambs Wool Drink (warm spiced apple cider), and Kings Cake (spice cake)! There was lots of fun, lots of experimenting, and lots of playtime too!

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