Monday, April 24, 2017

Learning is A Part of Living

Random homeschooling moments come all the time.  This one was of a bird that must have stunned itself hitting a window.  Bug was in doing her vision therapy to correct insufficient convergence and Bubby was in doing PT.  I have never seen Bud so tender with an animal (except our current rabbit) while he and Pumpkin kept the bird safe in this box.  Eventually the bird flew away and they enjoyed their time with it.

Bug attempted some mixed media art using yarn, and whatever nature could provide.  She's not so afraid to try unconventional things anymore and that makes me happy.

Music therapy for Bubby and everyone got to try some new instruments. After struggling to get any noise out of the trumpets we watched a few videos later of  famous people like Louie Armstrong and they had a greater sense of respect for their musical ability.

Bubbalicious is particularly fond of guitars.

A snake we found in our backyard that we followed to it's hiding place.  Of course it lead to an extensive internet search to try and figure out what it was.  We never positively identified it and sadly it has since decided to find a new home.  

One of our hikes and our Bug in her element.  Aside from finding her favorite ladybugs, we must have hit upon a mating season for this following beetle.  She was so fascinate by it we went back later that afternoon so she could bring some home to watch.  It was our trip to the Natural History museum that helped us identify it as the Blister Beetle.  We were lucky on our capture of it but have since learned that this insect will pop a blood vessel in it's joint causing it to ooze a yellowish blood that can cause skin to blister painfully.  The reason for the numbers we saw was due to the flowering brittlebush found all around those hills.

Our crazy engineer!  I am rather impressed sometimes at the tunnels this boy can create.

We've had two geodes that we've been dying to get open and thankfully we have an awesome remodeling firend who also owns a wet saw.  This is the result!

Another Bug find, this time in our own garden.  We solicited the thoughts of other bug loving friends and wondered between it being a cicada or a moth.  It turns out my guess of it being a 'cutworm' moth was right in the end.

We learned about and organization called Produce on Wheels.  It came about due to a TED Teen talk we watched as a family that showed how much food is being wasted by our society. 

It was really enlightening and as a result I looked to see what was being done in our area.  Produce on Wheels is a organization that takes produce that is being thrown away and distributes it once a week at differing locations.  For $10 we get nearly 60lbs of veggies and fruits.  The money really goes to the cost of trucks and gas, everything else is run by volunteers and so I signed us up so my kiddos could get a first hand look of how much waste might happen without our help.  We were kept super busy bagging peppers and tomatoes into recycled grocery bags for those passing through the lines.  It was a really good experience on many levels.

Many of the volunteers were retired people on fixed incomes.  Through volunteering they were able to get their veggies for free.  Many of those in line who paid were also on a fixed income, others were immigrants who had very little English, some were young families who had the look of hippes with peasant skirts and carrying the babies on their backs - earth friendly if you will.  Clearly vegetarian and eager for the break this would give on their budgets.  I have to chuckle that despite not looking like them, our family clearly falls in this category now. 

All in all, they were happy people, grateful for the food and our service in distributing it.  I was warned in advance by another volunteer that there would be some who would 'nitpick'.  I was surprised by this, after all it was an amazing deal and with the massive amount we were trying to quickly pick through and package I figured anyone would just be happy with what we got.  We met up soon with such an individual.  Seeing my daughter hand out the tomatoes she opened the bag and began to intimidate her.  "This has a spot, give me another!", "This one is bruised, change it out for me!", "This is terrible, just give me another tomato!"  At this point I intervened.  I picked out the nicest one I could find, held out my hand for the offending fruit and exchanged it with the words, "That will do." 

We talked about it later.  We gave tips to Bug how to handle such situations and most of all we wondered what would make an individual so unhappy and ungrateful. It was a good lesson in perspective and how to handle difficult people.

It was neat to give back to our community and help make a difference with the things we have learned about.  It's the follow through with what we learn and using it to make a difference.   We love homeschooling!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Easter 2017

With our lives so busy all the best laid plans tend to disappear as quickly as they appear in my mind.  In other words, they are often passing thoughts!  I had hoped to make Easter a more meaningful celebrations especially since it is the time we honor our Savior and his sacrifice for us all.  Sadly the scriptural easter egg hunt never came to fruition, the hoped for fancy Easter meal was simply a meal (just glad everyone was fed!) and we barely remembered to dye eggs!  We did try the silk tie dyeing method but I think Kent's ties were simply too old to transfer much of any color!
But we did make memories - good ones!  And sometimes I think is more than enough.  Lectures never really stick, elaborate crafts and food get forgotten but the feelings of love are remembered in heart and mind.

We did the annual Easter egg hunt at the sport complex.  I always love the mad dash you see with the older kids.  This was Pumpkin's first and she was excited when she learned it was all about candy.  They even held a special needs one at the end and Bubby understood what the task was quite well.  While he's not that fond of candy, his siblings are and his bounty will be shared with all - especially Mom and Dad!!

Oh the anxiety of waiting for the countdown to the dash!

Bubby just ran into the middle of it all, plopped down on the ground and cleared the area immediately surrounding him.  There was very little competition and after a sample or two he ran around the ball field like he was going for a homerun!

There were plenty of games for everyone and a gated place where Bubby could run free enjoy himself.  Occasionally he joined in.  Monkey see big sister do .... 

Monkey do!

Pumpkin was shy trying but when she saw there was candy or a prize for doing the game .... she was ALL in!

Bud is outgrowing these sorts of things and wanders about looking for something challenging.  It's hard to get a shot of him but I managed to catch this one.  Apparently our hyperactive boy lacks the steady hand to place the ring around the bottle top and stand it up, but he sure had fun trying several times.

This brave girl had to get a shot with the BIG bunny!!

Our bunny this year had brought all the supplies but lacked both time and energy to hid them so this year the oldest two helped out and it warmed my heart to see them take on this role.

I am so grateful for this time of year when we can pause and remember that I owe so many of these happy times and blessings to my Savior and his sacrifice that makes these things eternally possible.  Happy Easter 2017!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

First But Not Last! (Homeschool Coop)

Homeschool coops are awesome!  This little group has been perfect for us as we've begun to branch out of just our 'home' circle.  Our last few weeks together were spent on field trips to the World Wildlife Zoo and the Natural History Museum.  Baba took the day off for the Zoo because I wasn't sure how I would manage 4 kiddos all on my own.

Pumpkin LOVES birds!  The Macaws that were right at the entrance had her captivated!

Bud isn't all too interested in animals but he got to hang out with two of his friends almost the whole time we were there.

Its always fun to feed the giraffes and see their long blue tongues!  I never got to feed the lorikeets since I was so busy try to capture it on camera and keep a Bubby occupied safely.  Bug LOVED it and even though Pumpkin loves birds she was careful to keep a distance.

We caught one of their shows and enjoyed it while eating lunch. 

Once we'd separated from our group Bud got into the marine animals a bit more.  He's never been fond of any kind of living creature except humans but he figured the marine ones had less developed nervous systems and might be 'safer'. 

Goofy as always!  These two are like night and day!

Our friend from the ward, Sister Webb joined us for the Natural History Museum.  While the venue was such I knew the oldest two could just wander with the other kids and I could tend to the littlest two, it was still hard for Bubby to be so contained.  I was grateful for her help herding Pumpkin around so that I  could tend to a frustrated, overstimulated Bubby and make good use of run around time in contained areas.  Between the two of us and the other moms help we all had a good time.

It is always awe inspiring to walk in and see the size of these creatures!

Sister Webb was awesome and making sure Pumpkin had a chance to see some of these fossils and models up close.

The challenge of putting pottery back together.  Bud says it's the ultimate puzzle!

Almost all the kids worked together on this large pottery puzzle.  It wasn't easy to complete, let alone work with so many people cooperatively.  For at least one of my munchkins it was a good lesson on NOT controlling other, communicating thoughts and reasoning politely and for the other kiddo it was a lesson on sticking to one's gut response even in the face of criticism.  They all did awesome and were proud of the finished work.  I was particularly proud of their teamwork.

Carefully touching items several hundreds of years old!

The panning for gold was an ultimate favorite for just about everyone, including Bubby.  This meant a bath for anyone within close proximity to the boy but he was happy with this exhibit.

Digging for dinosaur bones and playing on the dino park.

Gems and minerals are huge with Bud.

At the end of it all was a classroom where the children could play with many different things and I let Bubbalicious out for some run around time.  Bud spent most of it with his friend playing happily, Bug was off studying bugs (no surprise there!) and Pumpkin was happy to have some of my attention to color and snuggle.

I never want the years to go by and never be in any of the pictures so I was so grateful that Sister Webb caught these few of me with the munchkins.  Good memories together!

My Pumpkin is a doll!!

We don't know what we will do for future coops but we've been so grateful for this one.  It has helped me to see that I don't have to be my kids only teacher and realize that asking humbly for help can make the extra-curricular activities a reality for our whole family to experience.  It's really about building a community of families learning together.  I hope to reach out and make some of these things possible in my own home soon.  Much thanks to Danna for putting this group together and taking care of science for a few months, to Ashley for the fun cooking classes that also made lunch for the kiddos easier on that day, and lastly but not least to Robyn to helped to branch out my sorely lacking art curriculum and inspire some confidence in my Buglove to try a little more.  You ladies are awesome!