Monday, March 16, 2009

A Return to Homeschool

Yea!!! Homeschool again!!! After much thought, deliberation, doubt, hope, ideas and prayer we have decided to homeschool the kids for the rest of the year. If we were not moving I would not pull them out of school, but since we are moving and everything is in an upset anyway, we have decided to seize the opportunity to return to our sweet homeschool life. I am so excited.

We have several things going for us this time around: a dedicated classroom space (that is NOT in the middle of the kitchen and family room); a "co-op" of dearly loved fellow homeschoolers to do things with; my sister - we finally get to hoe this row together; a farm (thank you grandma and grandpa) for life and work lessons; and experience.

Some people might say: "Why are you trying this again, when it didn't work the first time?" To them I have the following replies:

:: In the immortal words of Batman's Alfred, "Why do we fall? So we can pick ourselves up."
:: Aside from loved ones, I have never missed a thing, a process, an experience so much in my entire life.
:: All that missing teaches me what was lost was valuable, and needs to be recovered and cherished, and not taken for granted.
:: Lastly, seeing how far and how fast my little ones have fallen since returning to public school, how can I help but wrap my arms around them and lift them up and bring them back to who they were beginning to be?

My resolution this time is to engage in a support group; the priority I should have had the first time around. So, if you are a homeschooler, please drop me a line. Let's figure out a way to get together, share resources, exchange ideas, and help each other (and our children) find the most in this wonderful adventure called homeschool.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

An Outing to OMSI

Free passes, a Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, and the delight of spending a whole day with cousins lured us out of the house Saturday morning and off to OMSI. The day was full of fun things to do and unique experiences. The five oldest kids toured a submarine with their daddies ("no, thanks" for me and my sister), while the little girls played with hand-puppets for an hour in various parts of the museum (OMSI has some fabulous puppets - I have been looking for some great ones for home - I think I may have hit the jackpot).

We headed over to the "Turbine Hall" after lunch and took in a wide variety of hands-on science experiments. My favorite was watching the kids "catch" smoke. They shot water bottle rockets, climbed into a space shuttle, explored aviation design, computer fundamentals, and manipulated giant robot arms.

The most incredible part of the day, for me, was the da Vinci exhibit. I do not have any pictures as photography was forbidden in the hall. They had many models of machines that da Vinci designed and almost an entire floor devoted to the Mona Lisa. It is probably as close as I will ever get to the real thing, and it was awesome. I don't mean that in the slang, "cool" sense of the word, I mean that in the true "awe inspiring" sense of the word. It was incredible to stand in front of that work of art, with true colors restored after two years (or was it four?) of study and labor, and see the Mona Lisa as Leonardo da Vinci painted it 500 years ago. There is something about that mouth, although I have no idea what it is. I was also impressed by the beauty of her hands. I could not help but stand and stare. It was utterly peaceful and beautiful, and absolutely amazing. Now I want to go back and see it without kids pulling me through as fast as they can walk. Oh, and I think I'll fork over the four bucks for the self-guided tour phone. Maybe I'll even stop and read the explanation cards this time.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Blowing Art

For a fun art project today, I set the little ones up with three small bowls of watered down tempera paints, a rinse water bowl, an eye dropper, plenty of white copy paper, and two straws. I showed them how to use the eye dropper to make dots of paint on the paper, rinsing the dropper between each color change. Then I demonstrated what happens to the drops when you blow on them through a straw.

They had a great time. I think their favorite part was playing with the eye dropper. I would like to come up with some more activities where they can use the dropper. It got a little messy towards the end, but not bad. Dispensing the very thin paints with only an eyedropper seriously cut down on the volume of mess that could have been created. Paint smocks are a definite must, however. I used washable paints, so everything was a breeze for the kids to wipe up after they finished. Give it a try!

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Someone's In the Kitchen With Mommy

My two youngest have become very interested in culinary delights of late (could it be the inspirational viewing of Ratatouille?). We have been making all kinds of yummy things. Here are a few pictures of Erik teaching Anna how to properly blend the stir-fry sauce.

You'll notice her little hand is on his, and his little hand is holding her's in place so that she can get a feel for the motion. Aren't they so cute?

The steamy, delicious fruits (or should I say vegetables?) of their labors.

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Friday, March 6, 2009


:: library books
:: an empty house
:: knitting needles and an ample yarn supply
:: munchkins
:: clean laundry (even if it's not folded yet)
:: sunshine
:: sick kids (it forces me to slow down)
:: healthy kids (finally sleeping through the night again)
:: memories of Disneyland
:: a really, really, really good movie (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)
:: watching my little ones paint
:: a quiet dinner with my husband (Subway, on the couch, 8:30pm)
:: talking and someone listening
:: making plans
:: finding solutions
:: feeling stress-free
:: naps
:: holding hands

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


In Memorium: Striker Lightyear Hawkins 2008 (or 2007) - March 3, 2009.
Memorial and burial services were held Tuesday evening in the downstairs hall bathroom at the Hawkins' residence. Surviving family members include three siblings and two parents. Events of note include a dramatic tear-filled lifting of the water closet lid and the entire mourning party being shocked to laughter by the unexpected contents of the toilet bowl. The youngest family member proudly pointed to the white porcelain and announced, "Me do it!" With a simple flush the crying and burial "at sea" resumed. Surviving brother Erik sobbed and sobbed and required a significant amount of comfort by other members of the family. Striker will be most missed for his irridescent blue fins and his "waffle dance" whenever Dad made waffles on Sunday afternoon.
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