Sweetberry Farms–Round 2

Here we went again!  The pumpkins were still super-awesome, the goats were still the favorite, and walking through the tunnel to the other side of the farm was a first – and discovering the echo inside the tunnel was a blast for Alex (sorry, I didn’t get a picture of that).  
Did I mention it was COLD?
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“E”xciting “E” Week

It’s hard to believe E and F week have come and gone.  Oh, wait.  No it’s not.  I’m always behind on posts these days!  But we’re busy in a good way, so you must just wait patiently for me to get caught up.
This week we met the Eyebright Fairy along the alphabet path and were introduced to Elizabeth Ann Seton in our Saints book.  We had some fun reading Elves in the Shelves, East of the Sun West of the Moon, Planet Earth – Animals of Africa, and The Earth.  (It’s harder to find books for E week than you would think).  From the Children’s Book of Virtues we read The Tortoise and the Hare, and from the Children’s Book of Heroes we read The Little Hero of Holland.
Do-A-Dot and drawing in the red sand are always a big hit and this week was no different. 

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The highlight of this week was learning about the senses.  We spent several days talking about the eyes and the ears (and his elbow) but we learned about touching, smelling and tasting too.  The Flip Flap Body Book has been a favorite for all things senses.  He can now tell you that “when you use your senses, they send a message to the brain in your head”.
In our Look Inside Science this week we studied trees and plants and in the Picture Atlas we took a look at countries and cities.
We made a scarecrow puppet, found El Salvador on the map, and talked all about the number eight.  We gave estimating a try, though not entirely successfully, but then again, I’m absolutely terrible at estimating, so he might come by it naturally.

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All in all a good week, but quiet and somewhat uneventful as far as school goes.  F week up next…stay tuned!

Just Because

There is no cohesive theme to this post other than of course my super-duper, darling little cutie pie!  But here are a few random pictures from various things we have done in the past few weeks, I mean months.  Oops – I may have gotten a little behind again!
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Alex’s Rainbow Salad (from Story Time with Rachel)
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He ate every last bite himself!
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Pioneer Farms

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“On Stage” with the Biscuit Brothers at Pioneer Farms
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Alex and William
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Alex March 2009
I can’t believe he was ever this tiny.  =)
I know I am behind on blogging about E week, but I promise it is coming soon.  I think now I am caught up on all other events, though not for long, I’m sure!

“D” is for “d”elight, “d”angerous, and of course, “d”inosuars!

(Dinosaurs are dangerous, didn’t you know?)
D week was probably the week that will elicit the most excitement here on the homestead because “D” week meant we had a real reason to talk dinosaurs every moment of every day for a whole week.  There was a fierce, but short-lived battle between dinosaurs and dragons for top slot this week, but in the end dinosaurs won.  Although by a smaller margin that I had been anticipating.  The abundance of dragon figurines that made an appearance throughout the week may have had some influence on the outcome…but I am getting ahead of myself.
While this has nothing to do with D week specifically, Alex has now mastered saying the entire Pledge of Allegiance all by himself.  It is absolutely beautiful to watch him place his little hand over his heart and proudly, and with much enthusiasm, belt out each line with a broad smile on his face.  In light of the many debates and discussions we have heard in recent years regarding the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools, I am thankful for the freedom to teach and practice this tradition in my schoolroom.
This week on the alphabet path we met the Double Daisy fairy, who shared with us a little bit about St. Dominic.  We also introduced Dick & Jane (inexplicably I simply cannot pass up the opportunity to own anything that displays art work from the 1950s.  Also anything that resembles the “good wife” era of the 1950s.  Please don’t ask me to explain.)  We also read The Magic Doll from Stories Around the World, Harry the Dirty Dog, David and Goliath from The Children’s Book of Heroes, and books upon books about dragons and dinosaurs.  
And dogs.
Drawing the letter D in sand, the D week do-a-dot, and the dinosaur coloring page were all a big hit.  Prayer table time was also fun this week because Alex mastered the Glory Be prayer and began opening prayer time for us all by himself.  We did a D is for Divine Mercy craft, by tracing Alex’s hands together on a piece of paper forming a heart between his first fingers and thumbs.  
Alex likes hearts.
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For our Montessori exercise this week Alex learned to dust.  Thank goodness someone can now keep up with cleaning!  He actually loves to do it, although it never lasts long, much to my dismay.  He even dusted…you guessed it!  The dinosaurs.
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For math we introduced Geoboards, which he adored, and did some patterns with Unifix cubes, which he enjoyed.  We’re still trying to decide what type of formal math program we are going to pursue, so we are content for right now to continue with manipulatives from last year.
Science was a big hit this week.  We are using the Usborne Look Inside Science book to study the basics of what science is all about.  Because the book includes a gazillion lift the flaps, Alex could spend hours “studying” science!
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As if all of that wasn’t enough, we found Delaware, Denver, Dallas and Detroit on the map, and learned a little about maps in the Usborne Picture Atlas.  He also spends many nights now shooting darts at the U.S. map on our wall and naming off states as he or daddy hits them.  Daddy started out doing it for fun, but it’s turned into a fabulous learning tool and he now knows most of the names of the southern states.

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Final highlights from the week include:
  • a discussion on the Dallas Cowboys (we live in Texas after all)
  • a little bit on Davy Crockett (who doesn’t love Davy?)
  • several discussions on why we brush our teeth and why there is no bargaining to get out of it
  • and more about dinosaurs, dinosaurs, and dragons!
Completely unrelated to D in any way, we also read Skippyjon Jones this week for the first time.  Let me just say that if you haven’t read it yet, read it now.  Don’t wait for your child, and for goodness sake, if you don’t have children, don’t wait until you do!  It is a must-read for every young-at-heart person out there!  Just be sure to use your very best Spanish accent…

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The Pumpkin Patch

October is one of my favorite months of the year.  I love the idea of leaves changing color, the crisp, cool mornings, the smell of cinnamon and spice, pumpkin lattes at Starbucks, and the start of the holiday season. 
I love Halloween.
And this year, Alex loves Halloween too.
And it’s just not October without pumpkins.  My friend Amanda was planning to take her little boy Anthony to Sweet Berry Farms this year and as soon as she mentioned it I just knew we would have to take Alex.  Pumpkins…scarecrows…hay rides…a corn maze…it suddenly didn’t matter how much work we had to do around the house this weekend.  First thing this morning we hit Rudy’s for tacos, and headed out to Marble Falls for some good old-fashioned Fall festival fun!

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Traditions

I love traditions.  They provide a cornerstone for stability.  They become something expected…a routine that exists in a constantly changing world.  Old or new.  Simple or not.  Fun or heartwarming.  They fill the mind with excitement and the soul with joy.  They are worth the time to create and the commitment to foster.
For us, breakfast on Saturday morning is a tradition that started years ago, and has become an absolute in our sometimes hectic family life.  We plan everything around breakfast at our favorite taco place in the world – Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ.  Alex begins asking about breakfast at Rudy’s every week on Thursday and continues to remind me about it all through the day on Friday.  Saturday morning he wakes up with a special smile and excitedly tells me that it’s “breakfast tacos at Rudy’s today”.  We have other traditions we love, but for whatever reason, Rudy’s tacos remain firmly fixed as a favorite tradition in our home.
(It just so happens that Rudy’s is also a favorite place to go for dinner when Uncle Arron comes to visit!)

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