Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day of Planting

On Tuesday we went to our friend Summer's house and helped her plant seeds for her vegetable garden.  It was beautiful day, mid 70s, sunny day.  The children were happy to play right away. My friend has four children, and they get along great with Son and Daughter. One of her boys is Son's age and her little girl is only two months behind Daughter's age. Her other two are older, and delightful as well.  After playing and some lunch, we went to work. 

First my friend's eldest son divided the bed of dirt into sections. Each was going to be a vegetable. I helped with the cucumbers. I dug a fairly deep trench with the hoe, about 3 inches, and scattered the seeds every few inches apart. I hope they'll have cucumbers, as I'm not known for my green thumb. Cross my fingers!

Son proceeded to plant spinach seeds.  My friend showed him how to dig a shallower trench, and Son planted the seeds.  As soon as he was done it was off to play with his new friend, though.  At five what is more fun than playing with a new friend?

My friend's two oldest were diligently working on the garden and Daughter decided to help too. She helped plant sweet potatoes with my friend showing her how to dig in the earth, drop in the cut sweet potato piece and put dirt back over it.  She was so serious and concentrated.  She knew she was doing something important. Hopefully she'll like sweet potatoes now!

We had  a great time in the beautiful outdoors with our friends.  This has inspired me to finally start a few plants of our own.  I have Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots on my Christmas Wish List.  I have a feeling we will all benefit from being closer to nature and eating our own home-grown vegetables and herbs -- yummy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Field Trip 1: Florida Keys Electrical Cooperative 

Our local playgroup, Keys Kids Playgroup, always has fantastic field trips planned. It's for children from 0 to 6, and I've always taken son to these since he was little. However, now that he's five, I find he listens and understands a whole lot more and can ask intelligent questions. It's marvelous seeing him grow and change. 

Yesterday we visited the Florida Keys Electrical Cooperative, our local power company. I was so excited as son and I just covered the four forms of energy in BFSU's C-1 Thread Concepts of Energy. This was perfect! It was our first formal field trip of the year. Before this we visited the Wild Bird Center and Zoo, but I didn't require a field trip report. The kids watched a short video on the dangers of electricity and how to keep safe with Cato the Cat.  They found out that electricity has a negative and a positive side to it. They also learned about avoiding electrical outlets when wet.

Son learned a lot about the dangers of power lines, and how to avoid them. Here in Florida we are especially likely to encounter downed power lines after a storm. It's important to know to avoid these and to call the electrical company as soon as possible.  The employees have a neat little Keys town with a man and woman and real functioning power lines, and they show how the people can get electrocuted by showing the electricity running through their bodies. We learned that water conducts electricity and our bodies are made up of 75% water. That means that we are very much at risk for getting electrocuted and need to go indoors in case of lightning. Here is one guy showing how a person gets electrocuted by touching a ladder to the power line (the orange shows the electricity, its sounded like tzztt... really cool):

The highlight of the trip was when the kids got to see a cherry picker go way, way up. The kids especially enjoyed being allowed to honk the horn of the cherry picker truck multiple times. Loud, but fun.  

Mom learned a thing or two as well. I didn't know that the only thing from keeping these guys from getting electrocuted in the truck is the polyethylene bucket within the fiberglass cherry picker bucket. If this plastic bucket gets punctured the guy would easily get electrocuted. Ouch! It takes approximately five years to get the training necessary to do this job, and ten years to get proficient at it. And apparently it's pretty good money.

The people at the FL Keys Cooperative were so friendly and great hosts to our group: the kids got an array of snacks and drinks to choose from, such as gold fish, graham crackers, apple juice, punch and water. At the end they received a packet with crayons, an activity book about electrical safety, some Christmas pencils and Christmas-themed erasers -- very cute. Thank you, Florida Keys Electrical Cooperative!

When husband came home, son was telling him all about what he learned, including "don't get a kite that's stuck on the power lines" and "don't ever, ever throw a rock at the power lines". When we got home we filled out our Field Trip Report. I asked him the questions, he told me his answers and I wrote them down. He liked his field trip and his favorite part? "All of it," he says.

It was a fun day and we learned a lot. Next year when we add another layer to son's scientific understanding we'll be glad to visit again.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas Festival

Yesterday all of us went to the local Christmas Festival. It was a lot of fun. Son is old enough to enjoy himself with the rides, and I was so happy to go on the rides with him. I even went into a big bounce house. It's fun reliving your childhood. After that son tested his strength, shot some hoops, and little daughter played two simple games that won her prizes. She loved listening to the music and running around on the field. Husband and I were overjoyed to see our kids so happy and carefree. They loved spending time with the two of us at a special event like this. Son met Santa too, and got hugs from both him and Mrs. Santa/Mama Claus. He was so star struck he was speechless and a bit shy. I thought it was cute. 

I can't believe Thanksgiving is this week! I feel like I have so much to do, and I'm not even hosting it. Husband is making Jambalaya and his self-created Volcano Cake, and I'm making Deviled Eggs and Roasted Butternut Squash (with thyme and blue cheese). Yummy! I could have made dessert too, but many people are on a diet, and Husband is already bringing a very rich one.  Christmas Eve I'll bring something else, but don't ask me yet as I don't know. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

Homeschool Math

For encouragement, great strategies, curricula and resources stop by and check out Homeschool Math. It is a site but also has a blog which contains all the information you would need in order to decide on math curricula. I have used the website often, and come away with more insight, especially from someone who's not usually math oriented.

For me, the whole site and its author Maria Miller, convey to me, "You can do this."

To vote for the Homeschool Math blog at the Homeschool Blog awards, click here. It's in the Business/Curriculum category.  

If you get a chance, you can also vote for my friend's blog, Trivium Academy. Her blog is nominated for at least Best Blog Design. I think her blog is not only beautiful, but also incredibly rich in content. Check it out!

By the way, I use MCP Math Level K and supplement with Living Math books.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Hope Everyone Had a Merry Scary Halloween! 

We sure did. This was the most fun Halloween we ever had. Son is old enough (five) to enjoy it and really understand the trick or treating process. We went trick or treating in a neighborhood about twenty minutes away from our house, where husband's aunt lives. Every year her house is our home base from where we start our trekking. We stop for conversation, pictures, refreshments and snacks before taking off. 

Son was Superman, husband was Ponce de Leon the Spanish conquistador, I was a witch and daughter my black cat. I love toddlers in costume! They are some one of the most adorable sights of early childhood. Here are some pictures. Tomorrow we're attending a costume party in honor of a little friend who turns one. Happy Birthday, Zeffie! It's nice to be able to reuse the costumes.