May 28, 2009

Tissue Paper Flowers

I discovered a used copy of a book called Tissue Paper Flowers by KLUTZ. Allie was instantly intrigued and has really enjoyed learning this new handicraft. The flowers are so pretty and realistic looking too. I told her if she started now she could have all paper flowers for her wedding. Now if that isn't handy I don't know what is.

May 25, 2009

It's a boy!

Well, my sweet husband just can't resist making our oldest daughter Allie smile. Her 12th birthday is in a couple of weeks and all she has been wanting is one of our neighbor's kittens. He said no rather matter of factly, but then surprised her with it Saturday evening as an early present. Our new addition, Milo, has been receiving an ample amount of attention.

Here he is in the watering can.....

and the doll stroller.....

and finally, the laundry basket for a cat nap.

May 21, 2009


Allie made strawberry shortcake today - one of my very favorite desserts. Her baking just keeps getting better.

May 20, 2009

The Book Summary

Allie read Johnny Tremain as part of our Revolutionary War study. I had her do a written narration after each reading with the intent of having her condense her writings into a short book summary. You see, Allie has the gift of writing. She can write stories that go on and on, full of lively characters and vibrant details. However, when it comes to summarizing, she has trouble. She just doesn't like to leave anything out. We have been working on this skill and she has come a long way. I limited her summary of Johnny Tremain to one page and this is what she turned in to me. CLICK HERE :O)

May 17, 2009

May 16, 2009

Ring around the Rosie

Allie made a sweet clover necklace for our beloved cow Rosie.

A nifty grammar book from 1920

If you like M.L. Nesbit's Grammar Land, then I'm sure you will like this elementary grammar text from 1920. It is called The Child's Own English Book: An Elementary English Grammar by Alice Eliza Ball. You can download a free PDF copy at

May 15, 2009

On nature study and heartbreak

Today we learned that nature study can be sad. Yesterday evening Caleb found a young meadowlark fluttering in and out of the tall grass near the cow pasture. When he caught it he took it to show Allie. Allie discovered that it had a broken wing and looked as if it had had a brief run in with one of the cats. They immediately brought it in to me with hopes of patching up the young bird's wing. I was right in the middle of fixing dinner, but having a tender heart, I got down a small box to put it in and gave it a dish of water and a bit of parakeet seed (desparate times call for desparate measures).

After dinner we got out our handy copy of The Handbook of Nature Study and read about Meadowlarks. We quickly learned that they enjoy a diet of grasshoppers and other creepy crawlers, not seeds(oops), and that they are out of the nest in only 10-12 days. We did not read whether or not the baby bird is still dependent on it's parent for food. Allie got her bug jar and proceeded to go outside to rustle up some nourishment for our new feathered friend. While she was outdoors, I fashioned a new home out of a large box and a piece of screening. I thought is was nice, but the bird was scared and kept flying up and running itself into the screen. Allie returned with one grasshopper (not much smaller than the bird) and three pill bugs. The latter was not on the list from "The Handbook", but they were easy to catch.

We dropped the bugs into the box, but the bird was not interested. We only managed to further frighten it. The meadowlark was bright eyed and energetic and appeared to have no other injuries, so we decided to leave it alone until morning; maybe it would calm down and eat. Morning came and all of the bugs were still intact and crawling about the box. The bird was chirping and still very frightened. I feared it would injure itself further if left in our care, so I made the decision that we would let it go. This was not popular. Allie took the box back to the tree line on our property and found a spot where the meadowlark would be able to jump up to some low branches for safety. Many tears were shed in our home this morning. Yes, nature study can be sad.

May 14, 2009

Rock Painting

It was a beautiful day outside today - 75 degrees and sunny - PERFECT for painting some rocks on the deck. After lunch we scanned the driveway for the best specimens, trying to imagine what each rock "looked" like. Ashlyn eventually ended up wearing more paint than the rocks. Caleb painted 2 or 3 before he was ready to be off playing pirates again. Then there is Allie, my perfectionist, she painted dilegently for close to an hour. I'm sure you will be able to tell which rocks are hers.

From Humble beginnings...

Praise for Simply Charlotte Mason

If you are new to Charlotte Mason's teachings or just haven't discovered the gem that is Simply Charlotte Mason, then I encourage you to hop over there immediately after reading this post :O) Sonya Shafer has put together a wealth of information for the CM style homeschooler. Her two FREE e-books Education Is and Masterly Inactivity have so much knowledge to be gleaned from them, that I learn something new every time I pick one up. Sonya's writings are extremely readable and she has a true gift for making Charlotte Mason's ideas seem doable for today.

The SCM website has also been republishing some treasures of yesteryear. I recently picked up Boy of the Pyramids , for a short study of Ancient Egypt, and Outdoor Secrets because I just LOVE nature stories. Neither has been a disappointment. Boy of the Pyramids is fantastic for oral narration and has left my 7 and 11 year old both begging for more each time I've finished a chapter. Outdoor Secrets contains several short stories about Mother Nature and her many wonders. It is so charming and is enjoyed by all including my 3 year old Ashlyn. You can see samples of both books at the SCM website.

May 11, 2009


Yes, you read correctly...Thank goodness it's Monday! I am not sure I have ever said that before, but the weekend was such a whirlwind of activities, a funeral, a wedding, a graduation, early service on Sunday, and finally a Mother's Day road trip. Phew! I'm tired just reading the list. Today we are going to play, catch up on things around the house, and hopefully rest a bit. Here are a few pictures from our weekend.

A nice picture of Allie and my mom! Capturing this was no small feat.

The lovely blue clematis I took to my grandma for Mother's Day.

Caleb's Lego pirate set-up.

And last but not least, a huge (18" x 12") snapping turtle that wandered upon our property. We are NOT going to do an up close nature study on this fella ~ He was not happy with us!

May 06, 2009

Go to the ant

This time of year I always have a few uninvited guests sneaking into the house. Yes, we get ants. I thought this season, in the spirit of our good friend Charlotte Mason, we would use this inconvenience as an opportunity for nature study. We found their home and thought it was rather impressive. When we moved a bit of the dirt, the ants scurried around like mad and started carrying away their eggs (see the brown arrow on photo #2). Such hard workers, kind of makes me feel guilty for squashing them on my counter ~ guess I'll just have to make them my special sugar borax pudding. Funny, they never return after I fix that particular dessert.

May 05, 2009

Morning Surprise

This morning was to be just another "normal" day of school. You know the routine, math, language lessons, history readings, etc. But sometimes one must throw caution to the wind and take advantage of an unexpected opportunity. Today was that day.

While doing the early chores my husband noticed a spring peeper perched on our house just above the water faucet. What a treat! After breakfast, the kids and I caught the peeper and brought him in for observation. We made him a nice home in a large apothecary jar. In the jar we placed a few smooth river rocks, a small stick, and then lined the bottom with moss. A very nice home if I do say so myself.

We have been having a wonderful time watching the tree toad move around the jar. He seems very much at home. The Handbook of Nature Study had quite a lot of information and we read it all! Ashlyn even took a turn "reading" about our amphibius friend. The older kids are still working on their nature journal entries, but Ashlyn had her "froggy" drawing done in a very timely matter.

Most days, having a daily schedule is important, and we did get to the majority of our other lessons, but sometimes the unexpected journeys are the ones that teach us the most. It is on a day like today that I am reminded how blessed I am to have this precious time together with my children. God is good!

May 02, 2009

Learning is FUN!

We read Mr. Revere and I by Robert Lawson in April and the kids just loved it. So much so, it's infiltrating their play. Caleb in the coonskin cap (strapped on with a leather belt) is Paul Revere and Allie and Daisy the dog are the Red Coats hot on his tail. It's a good thing we live in the country, because I'm sure even the few neighbors we have heard the shouts of "The Red Coats are Coming". Ahh, don't you love living books that just keep on livin. Have a blessed LORD's day.

May 01, 2009

I wonder....

Is it mean to make your daughter clean the bathroom while you finish your quilt top?
I think not.

I am making this quilt for our living room. As you can tell (by the uneven rectangles and mismatched corners) I am not a professional quilter by any stretch of the imagination. Fortunately, I like them scrappy.