Friday, June 27, 2008

Inexpensive Summer Fun

Summer is in full effect and we are having a great time.
I wanted to pass on a couple of fun activities that we have found. Perhaps your family would enjoy them too.

$1 Movies
Lansing Mall Cinema
is having $1 movies at 10:30am every weekday throughout summer. Click on the link above to see what movies will be featured. For those not in the Lansing area, check the site to see if your local theater is participating.

Free Bowling
Sky Lanes Bowling of Lansing has one free game everyday of Summer, with the purchase of rental shoes. So for $2 a person you can enjoy a game of bowling.

Library Summer Reading and Activities
Capital Area District Library has tons of summer fun activities. Magicians, puppets, bugs, bats, theater and more. Something for every age. Check out this events page to see if there is anything in your neck of the woods. Or stop in at your CADL branch for a list of all activities at every location. While you are there sign up for the summer reading program. Fun incentives for youth, teens and adults.

All of the above are indoor and air conditioned. So beat the heat or rainy day blues.

Potter Park Zoo Days
July 15 and 16 9am-7pm. Free parking and admission. In addition to all the animals at the zoo, kids and adults will be treated to mascots & clowns, face art, and free turns in the bounce house! Pick up a free ticket at L&L(no purchase necessary)

Hawk Island
This beautiful park has so much to offer. Hiking trails, playground, picnic areas, guarded beach and the splash pad.
Parking is only collected on weekends and holidays. Weekdays free. There are boat rentals available if interested. Check those and other parks info out here.

Blues on the Square
Thursdays, free. Good music, good food. Downtown Lansing at Washington and Allegan. 6-10pm
  • June 12 - Mike Zito
  • June 19 - Jimmy Dillon
  • June 26 - Ana Popovic
  • July 17 - Anthony Gomes
  • July 24 - Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials
  • July 31 - Larry McCray
  • Aug 7 - Deanna Bogart
Be sure to check out Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau for other events.
Here is a listing of music for July.


Lastly, there is priceless, mindless entertainment brought to you by way of our friends at Stumble. I found this one this morning, I enjoyed it. Hopefully you will too.

I hope you are enjoying your Summer. If you know of any family fun activities, please be sure to pass them on.
God Bless!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bumper Crop

of Mosquitoes!
Have you been out lately? I can not go outside without getting TORE UP.
I just read an interesting little article compliments of the National Geographic about this years mosquitoes.
Mosey on over and read it yourself. Time to get the bug spray.

The Sharing of Dreams

Dreams. Some remember them for hours after they dream them. Others they are gone within seconds of their eyes opening. Little girl currently has a thing for dreams. Every morning this last week she has come to me and told me what she dreamed about. I have to say this a very cherished time to me right now. To get glimpses into her mind, her interpretations and her values.
I recently read the book, The Giver, by Loise Lowery. A very thought provoking book! In it the family had a sharing of dreams while eating breakfast every morning. All dreams must be shared, even the most embarrassing. And after the telling the others reply, "Thank you for sharing." In the book the philosophy behind the practice was interesting to say the least but it got me thinking.
Dreams. Fragments of real life. Whirled with fantasy. The working out of emotions. Favorite memories relived. God speaking. Craziness. Sometimes practical.
I loved little girls dream this morning. Even though she told me not that long ago, details are already fading. She was spelling. I was saying words to her and she was spelling. Her brother was involved. Emotionally she was happy, satisfied and proud.
I asked her what word she was spelling and she answered. "Cat."
Then she spelled it for me. Which led to more words and her giving me words to spell.
For fifteen minutes we did words. Spelling them, sounding them out, rhyming them. It was precious.
All because she shared a dream.

Friday, June 20, 2008

With That Done...

We can flee the country.
Well, not really flee. Just take a little trip across the border.
For awhile now, I have been wanting to write up an official custody paper in the event of my death. So yesterday I did just that. I wrote out who would get our kids. With their consent of course. Wouldn't it be rather tragic if you had been willed kids to care for but you never knew it. Thankfully, I have loving friends that are the greatest. They are WILLING to provide to love and care for our kids if we should leave this earth before they are grown.
After writing it up, I then made three copies and had them notarized. So it's official. I will state it here should there ever be any discrepancies. In the event of our death our kids will get all of our property and possessions under the guardianship of Mindy. She will make all decisions regarding their inheritance. She will raise them until age 18. She will welcome family request for visitation. That's the basics of the arrangement.

Now, I may really meander over the border. But don't worry I have every intentions of coming back. Alive.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Bird Revealed

Melissa, you were right, it is a red-winged black bird. Which was my initial guess before I talked myself out of it.
I sent an email off to some professional ornithologists and then emailed back today. It's official, female red-winged black bird. I did an image Google search and now am completely convinced.

The Dance

After sharing a dinner with Mindy, we headed over to the ball park around the corner from our house to watch her husband play baseball. Sometimes when we go the kids watch the game with great interest, waiting for a foul ball to run after. Other times, such as last night, they play together uninterested in the game. They ran around the perimeter of the ball field a couple times. Then they meandered over the a grove of trees. Together they played, delighted and content. Periodically, I glanced their way. Happy. Sitting in the grass. Laughing and playing.
When it was time to go I stood up and started walking toward them. It was in that moment that I noticed the "grass" was not grass at all. My dear sweet children had been playing in a giant mud puddle. They were dancing about now, their laughter rising and falling as they themselves splashed back into the mud. The boy was one brown mess from his head to his toes. Little girl also one outrageous form of brown. I laughed to myself before I approached them. I fashioned in my mind how they would get home. Just then my husband shows up at the ball park. The kids spot him and shamefully hide behind the trees. That look of "Oh No, Dads here and we are going to be in trouble!"
He calls them out from behind the trees and asks if they had made a good choice. They decide no it was not the best choice. Walking back to the car the kids ask me for forgiveness. Which I do.
Looking them over, I decide there is NO WAY they are entering my vehicle. I decide that they are going to walk home. It's not far, a couple of blocks, they seem excited about the freedom. I creep slowly beside them, the hazard lights blinking. The kids find great fun in running ahead of me. Nearly a race to get home. They are laughing still. Joy on their faces.
Home within minutes, their filthy clothes lay in a pile. Completely brown. The kids take showers and get cleaned up. Then they go off to bed and quickly go to sleep. As for me, I throw the soiled clothes in the washer, praying, they will come clean. Then I curl up with my book and read into the wee hours of the night.
It is now morning. I tell the kids I am all for playing in the mud and getting dirty but there are times and places. Dad chimes in, with a please ask next time. The clothes are in the dryer, clean. Showing no sign of their dance in the mud. I am feeling quite thankful for laundry detergent right about now. It will allow me to let go of a storybook, clean and pressed child. Allowing them to be free to play as they wish. Carefree and full of joy.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Unitentional Learning

It Summer Break in our home and we are loving it.
At first I had these ideas of schooling until the end of June and then I thought about how ridiculous this was. What did I really hope to accomplish by dragging it out? Well, I let it go and I am so thankful I did.
You see my kids are thriving at the moment. I am utterly amazed at how much learning takes place naturally, without any prompting.
Such as, the boy asked if I would play a game of Monopoly with him. With no school to do, of course I agreed. For hours, we counted dice, money, doubled, added, strategized and HAD FUN. I told my dad this and he exclaimed, "Then I had an excellent education playing canasta, monopoly and chess through the years!" I agree.
Then there is the toad. While playing in the yard, the boy found a toad. He brought it in, startling me as he held it out over my bed. He was thoroughly pleased and asked if he could keep it. We brought up the critter cage, a 10 gallon aquarium with a screen top. I had purchased last Summer while we were observing the caterpillars. I told myself that it would serve as a home to any critter the kids wanted to house. So currently, it home to George the toad and two others, still unnamed. We went to the pet store and purchased crickets by the dozen. Turns out that toads love crickets and can eat them by the dozens. Their sticky tongues lashing out like a sticky hand you may get out of a 25cent machine. We have learned that toads only eat what moves. A cricket can be perfectly still in front of its nose and be unharmed but the moment it moves, even the tiniest bit, it is goggled up. They are also very good at burying themselves completely under the gravel. I thought my husband had taken one back outside, which hubby declared he had not. So after looking and looking, I lifted the aquarium and found him completely covered. Pretty cool, these toads. We will watch them for a few more weeks and then release them back in the yard.
Another sighting of unintentional learning, yesterday at breakfast. Little girl chose an apple for her fresh fruit. I cut it into slices and placed them on a plate. Then on her own she decided to make fruit kabobs. She got a banana and a kabob stick. Carefully cutting with a plastic knife she cut the banana and apples into small chunks. Then she placed them on the stick, apple, banana, apple, banana. "Look mom at my pattern," she said. Sounds like learning to me.
So many cool things like this are happening in my home. It thrills me. What really tickles me pink is what happened yesterday afternoon. I was curled up on the couch with a good book and the kids were playing quietly in their rooms. Then the boy came out and found me reading. "Mom, I will be quiet. Can I sit in the chair and read books?" Of course! So he sat down and read. 5 Books! For nearly an hour! This is unheard of in our home. He proudly colored in three of his circles on the Summer reading card and smiled at his accomplishment.
I think this Summer is going to turn out just fine! Alive with learning.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Ebay is My Friend

After much deliberation on my part, I have decided my curriculum for the Fall. Believe me this is half the battle. Knowing what I want to teach my kids. You see I have these thoughts in my head of what I want our home school to be like. Things like what subjects, how much seat work, how much hands-on, field trips and reading real books. I also have ideas about what I want their heart towards learning to look like. I want them to love learning, seek out interesting things in their world, taking pride and ownership in their education. Developing Godly character. I want them to be observant of their world not tuning it out. So many of these factors I weighed and reweighed as I selected what was going to be best for MY kids. For MY second grader. For MY little girl entering Kindergarten.
Here is what I have decided-
Phonics and English- I am not against seat work for Language Arts. I feel some repetition is necessary. I feel sitting down to get key concepts of language is acceptable. For that reason I have chose BJU.
K- BJU Beginnings K5 Phonics and Reading.
2- BJU English 2
The BJU Beginnings K5 I found on Ebay as a lot and I WON! Granted I had to set my alarm and get out of bed as it closed in the wee hours of the morning. I got it for a third of the price. Woohoo!
Reading- For the boy we will be choosing together age appropriate books and literature that he will read. I am not using a formal reading for him. This approach is working fabulously for us. He has come alive in his reading, asking to read before bed and also first thing in the morning. He excitedly picks up a book and reads it. Gone the days of hating to read. Woohoo!
Science, History, Music and Social- I think it was here that I debated the most. No curriculum at all, notebooking, Mystery of History, Science Readers, experiments... My thoughts on these subjects, well, I think young learners want to get their hands dirty and naturally gravitate towards learning these subjects. I feel that strict (often boring) curriculum killed that natural curiosity. So I decided early on I was NOT going to do a set textbook. I debated about what to do. Random subjects of interest. Simple Science Readers(we are going to use these as readers for reading. ) Nature Hikes. Notebooking. I have to say until the end of this school year, Notebooking was a foreign concept to me. Yet at the core of it I feel it can be a huge blessing to ones schooling. I know we will use this in the Fall, not yet sure to what degree, but it will be included. Also, Narration. Narration is also a new concept for me but I love the reinforcement it produces. It too struck a cord of YES! This too will be used. But as for the overall package I finally found that when my friend placed in my hands a Konos Character book- Volume One. It is exactly what I was looking for.
Science, History, Music, Social, Arts, Bible, Character Development, Living Books and Field Trips mesh together for a hands-on, exciting and interesting learning experience. Another bonus, a couple of other families will be joining us on our learning adventures. As there are co-op activities, we will do some of these together. Building life-long relationships and memories. I found all three Konos volumes along with helps on Ebay as a lot. I'm telling you Ebay is my friend. I got a really great deal. Another great bonus, the seller of the Konos Lot has taken me under her wing. Answering my questions and encouraging me to boot.
Math- We will use Saxon 2 for the boy. We used K and 1 previously and Saxon works for him. I have Saxon on my Ebay watch list, I'm waiting for a deal. Little girl will be using BJU Math K5. She completed Saxon K this past year and I do not want to move her ahead to Saxon 1. I know how intense it can be so we will wait until next year to use Saxon 1 with her. I feel the BJU K5 will engage her and challenge her without going overboard.

Needless to say, I am excited about the upcoming school year. Now I just need to be patient as I await the arrival of my Ebay steals. They are on their way....Woohoo!

Oh yeah, lastly, I will be going through Educating the Whole Hearted Child, as a study with other moms over the Summer.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Birdhouse Gourds

Yesterday, we rode bikes over to my parents. The boy on the tag-along. Which was nice as he did most of the peddling since I am just a bit sore from the Tri.
The kids painted gourds that were dried and made into birdhouses. DD- painted hers pink with glitter and orange dots. DS- Orange with glitter dots and a green bottom. Last minute details still need to be made and then later in the week they will be sealed. I will have to post finished pictures.

Here is little girl painting hers.

Stanley Cup Marathon Game

Donned in red my son, husband and I settled in for a highly anticipated 5th game.
The boy took a nap in the afternoon so that he would be able to stay up for the whole game. Little did we know that the whole game would go into the next day and beyond.
Halfway through the first overtime the boy excused himself to bed. He fought so hard to stay up, stretching out on the couch and glancing up every now and then to watch the action.
At the end of the first overtime, my husband and I were both fading fast. He looks at me and said, "Wake me up when play is back on." I woke up myself halfway through the second overtime. My contacts were beginning to gum up and I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I finished watching 2 OT and then resumed my catnap status. Start of the 3rd OT I did my best to keep my eyes open. The game was great. The result disappointing. As the Pittsburgh Penguins scored on a Power Play. Which I was awake to see. I woke hubby up with the score. He disappointedly gathered his stuff and made it to bed.
I am one tired girl this morning.

Let's Go Redwings!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Hawk I 2008

Well, I did it!
I completed the Hawk I Tri 2008.
400meter Swim, 16K Bike and 5K Run.

The last 2 months have been really difficult for me to train. With hubby gone as much as he has been, it was hard to get out to bike and run. So this year, I was simply thrilled to finish. I kept moving and didn't stop. My time was nothing spectacular. I may have even been last for my age group. The funny thing is that I am not discouraged by this. Training has merit and I will do my best to train properly in the future.
But for now, I simply revel in the fact that I finished.