Monday, March 28, 2011

Magic Tree House books, Geography and Much more

Buck, Honeybee, and I have started out on an adventure with Jack and Annie, characters from The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne.  In her first book
Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House, No. 1) (Book & CD)
Dinosaurs Before Dark, we are introduced to this brother and sister team.

I was sooo excited when I found CurrClicks Lapbook Study Guide for this book.
We have already read the first two books.  For this study we are going back and reading a chapter at a time and lapbooking it. 

Now I have to ask, have you read the cover story of the Spring 2011 issue of

This is a magazine every homeschooler should subscribe to! 

The article is entitled, "Further Up and Further In" written by Jennifer Mackintosh.  You may recognize her name from her blog Wildflowers and Marbles.  As I read this article, I felt as though I was sitting at a homeschool retreat/conference listening to an awesome home educating mother's inspiring story of "real learning" in the home.  I have long shared her thoughts on giving our children room to build relationships and discover connections in the everyday rhythm of our home.   I found it most intriguing that we would have one of these experiences this morning.

Buck was a little restless in putting together his lapbook this morning.  He was wanting to color in a Power Rangers book I picked up for him yesterday.  We don't watch the show...  Anyway, as we were going through the lesson, we were asked to find Pennsylvania on the map.  I pulled out the globe to show them. Buck had a "light bulb" moment and asked, "Mom, do you remember that big map that used to hang on the girl's wall?  It's downstairs on Snuggle Bug's bookcase."  I ran down and got it and we opened it up on the table on top of all our other work.  We found PN and AL and they filled them in on the teeny map that goes on the lapbook.  Then he said, "Mom, we should color in all the states like they are on the map."

I could have had two responses here:
  1. OK, we will do that after we finish this work for the lapbook. or
  2.  That's a great idea!  I'll print out a map for you and you can get started right away.
Can you guess which one I chose?  If you said #2 you are right!  If I would have insisted on finishing the work I had "planned", I probably would have lost or at least dampened his interest. 

I printed off a blackline map for the two of them and they both sat with map spread out on the floor in front of them and we talked and talked.  They started coloring in the states according to the color they were on the map.  We discussed the abbreviations of the states, what it meant to be a bordering state, places we had been or are planning on going to.  We also called their grandparents, who are on a trip, to ask where they were right then so we could find it on the map.  These are just a few things we talked about. 

This was the best kind of study. 

It wasn't planned, it just came about naturally.

Wonder where tomorrow's adventure will take us??

Thank you, loving Father, for this amazing homeschooling journey we are all on!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Music to my ears!

Last night as we sat and listened to my honey read the Bible stories that went along with our Jesus Tree, Buck said words that were truly music to my ears.

New Catholic Picture Bible/No. 435/22

"Dad, don't stop reading....I'm diggin' this!"
"Mom, I want you to start reading this with me tomorrow for my reading lesson....the whole thing!"

These words came from a boy who usually moans when I ask him to sit and read with me. 
We have already been reading these stories for history this year.  He wasn't near this enthusiastic about them earlier. No matter though, we had the best time reading together this morning.

This just goes to show that if we surround our children with good things they will be drawn to the beautiful.
(Note: I didn't push the Bible stories down his throat when I didn't have his interest.  I have always wanted my children to enjoy learning and to fall in love with God.  I can't make them do either....  But, I can gently encourage and guide them towards what is truly beautiful.  I do believe children learn so much more when they are interested in what they are studying.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ash Wednesday ~ 2011

We started off the day baking our
and pretzels.
Next we hung the backdrop for the Jesus Tree.
Honeybee got to add the first symbol that night during our family prayer time.

The kids started work on their special Lenten study materials which we keep in purple folders. On the cover of Buck and Honeybee's folders, they taped the sheet I enlarged from one of CHC's A Year With God activities. They get to put a sticker (a heart for Honeybee and a smiley face for Buck) on a thorn each night if they've done their best during the day to be obedient, kind, and helpful. By Easter they will have a beautiful wreath for Jesus. The folders also hold their calendars, stickers, and other papers.

~ Our Family Meal ~
(was based on serving the poor and also the temptations of Jesus while in the desert.)

Rice and Beans ~
 in the symbol of the cross of ashes. 
This reminded us to pray for the poor and those who go hungry

The first temptation ~
(to turn the stones to bread)
~ Chips and Salsa ~

Chips - representing the devils tempting Jesus to turn the stones to bread.
Salsa - reminding us of the blood that was shed for our salvation. 
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread."He said in reply, "It is written: 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.'" Matthew 4

The second temptation ~
  (to test God)

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you and 'with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'"

The third temptation ~

Representing power and strength. (like Popeye:)
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, "All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me." At this, Jesus said to him, "Get away, Satan! It is written: 'The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.'" Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.

Once we were done the kids and I headed out to Mass to receive our ashes.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mini King "Crown" Cakes

These little crown cakes were so cute and easy to make.
  I was so thankful for this simple recipe shared over at Catholic Cuisine

The kids dyed sugar to represent the "kingly" colors.

Then they took the cinnamon rolls and shaped them into these small crowns.
We baked them, drizzled with icing, and sprinkled with the colored sugar.
They made for a pretty table and a yummy dessert!
Happy Mardi Gras!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Finding Joy in Suffering For Christ

Today we celebrate the feast of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, who were martyred for their Christianity in the year 202.  As I was reading to the kids this morning from Saints and their Feast Days, I came across this list of scriptures that remind us to offer our sufferings for Christ in JOY.

We all have times in our lives where our crosses seem too heavy to bear.  As we approach Lent, let us all remember that Christ has done the heavy lifting for us.  Let us pray to have the faith of a mustard seed.

Blessings to you

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Galatians 6:14
But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Philippians 1:30
Yours is the same struggle as you saw in me and now hear about me.

Philippians 3:8-10
More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection and (the) sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death.

Philippians 4:13 
I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.

Colossians 3:4
When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.

1 Peter 1:6-7
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:13
But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Got Boys?

I hope you have a subscription to this wonderful magazine. 

The Winter issue is all about boys! 

I don't think it's too late to order a copy.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Along the Alphabet Path ~ A is for Altar

Honeybee and I have finally begun our walk along the alphabet path.  I've been planning on enjoying this with her for what seems like at least two years now!  We are enjoying the delightful stories, music and sheer beauty of it all.  Here's a little peek at some of the work we did for the letter A.
We are using these wonderful books for our study

An Alphabet of Catholic Saints

A Is for Altar, B Is for Bible

Flower Fairies Alphabet

This music is precious ~

A Flower Fairy Alphabet

You can find the stories to accompany your trip over at Serendipity.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More Saint David's Day fun ~

Yesterday was one of those beautiful "real learning" type of days!
I take no credit for it!!!

It all began with morning prayers and reading about the Saint of the day.
I visited some of the links Waltzing Matilda had posted on Saint David and

God took it from there....
The little ones had a great time making Saint David and knight figures.
They accompanied me to the store and found leeks to cook for supper.
Snuggle Bug was a huge help chopping potatoes and bacon for the soup, which hubby said was delicious!

The House Cat found this poem and Snuggle Bug dictated it to her as she wrote it on this pretty paper. 

They also learned a lot from these Enchanted Learning sheets.

Buck colored this Welsh flag

The House Cat and Snuggle Bug worked on these
sheets and then we put the work into this lapbook.

I just LOVE these kinds of days!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On Saint David's Day

Check out DLTK's website for lots of Saint David's Day fun!
Enchanted Learning also has great info on Wales.
Visit Catholic Cuisine for fun in the kitchen!

It's also the perfect day to pick daffodils and tell Jesus we trust in Him!

Have a blessed day!

Praying the Rosary keeps us close to Jesus