Monday, March 31, 2014

Opening day is approaching!!!
I so wish you all were here in order to see this show.
This show is going to be a marvelous spectacle!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lifestyle of Learning 2014 Edition: Volume Four Addendum

In my previous post I made note that I was in the process of renewing the nature table and was placing the emphasis on marine biology.  Bishop rediscovered his book "Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day" and requested the marine biology theme.  Of course, I obliged.

I am still looking for my box of shells that we use for sorting and classifying activities but I am pleased with the table.  I find it simple and inspiring.  I hope the kiddos find it inspiring as well.

Lifestyle of Learning 2014 Edition: Volume Four

Bishop has made a decision to help me in the kitchen on a more routine basis.  He has agreed to prepare three to seven meals per week.  He will make the menus and keep them within certain budgetary boundaries.  He agreed to this on Monday and immediately began researching menu ideas.  He came up with a long list of recipes to try in no time at all.  On Tuesday he went grocery shopping with me and began his meal preparation.  The entree for Tuesday was some sort of marinated chicken wings with a dipping sauce that was to die for.  His meal for Thursday was fried chicken, roasted potatoes and peaches.  And, the piece de resistance, was Wednesday's meal.  He made his own pastrami
 and served it with onion rolls and a fresh salad.
His culinary escapades never cease to amaze me.

Bishop attended scouts and did color guard for a special council event.
Bishop and his fellow scouts with Congressman Billy Long.
He also continued with his history group where they learned more about ancient India.  He will return to studying ancient Rome this next week and in preparation for that he read a book about the Roman army and studied a small bit about Roman water clocks and the lunar calendar.  He also read books about the Greensboro sit-ins and Audubon.

Presently he is at a Boy Scouts camp out.  He will be preparing the bulk of the meals while there.  This will allow him to advance in rank.  Also, we bought him his own camera to take on this campout.  He is the troop historian and needed a camera in order to fulfill his historian responsibilities.  I look forward to seeing the pictures he returns with.

Maceo logged 16 hours of rehearsal for Shrek.  He is really enjoying this opportunity.  The cast is primarily made up of well trained, highly experienced adults.  He appreciates the professionalism that they display and is encouraged by their positive response to him.  He continues to mature as a performer and as a young man.  He also continues his private vocal instruction and the practices related to it.  We purchased him and Italian/English dictionary so that he can translate his Italian aria into English.  This will be enable him to understand better the sentiment and driving emotion behind the song.  He also watched a film-making video series.

We are working on freshening up some of our spaces.
We now have a suitcase full of ancient history inspiration
and a basket full of weather related science stuff.
As the seasons change from winter to spring our weather gets a bit wonky.  It seems like the perfect time to track our weather.  It should be fun.

I am also switching out the nature table.  Bishop has asked that the next subject matter be marine biology so I am busy scouring the house for all related stuff.  I will post it later.

Maceo, Bishop and I have all opted to enter photos in our libraries photo contest.
So each of us picked photos from among our favorite nature photos and got those entered this week.  We are pretty excited about this adventure.
We love adventure!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Proud Mother of a Scout

I am so proud of my scouting boy.  His troop, being the only homeschooling troop in the area thus the only troop available during school hours, was invited to serve as color guard at a council fundraising event.  Bishop opted to participate.
He along with four other boys...
 posted the colors and led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance and the scout law.
This is them practicing prior to the event.
They then enjoyed some delicious food
while listening to Congressman Billy Long give an inspirational speech.
This was the first time that Bishop had been part of a color guard for a public event.  He, and all the boys, did really well.  I am so proud of the young man that he has become!!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lifestyle of Learning 2014 Edition: Volume Three

The last two weeks have been a fabulous whirlwind of activity.
Maceo had a plethora of theatre related activities.  He continued with Shrek rehearsals.  This musical will open in a couple of weeks so the next two weeks should be very full with rehearsals.  The Shrek cast had their first public promotional performance last week and Maceo participated in this.
Maceo at a costume fitting.
 He continued with his troupe rehearsals and with his private vocal instruction and all the practicing that accompanies it.  Our community theatre offers "play-in-a-day" on the days that the public schools are not in session.  For spring break they offered six separate programs.  Maceo was a co-teacher during one of these days.  It was quite a day for him as he had to be there at 7:45am, completed the program at 5:20pm and then had Shrek rehearsal from 6-10pm.  I love watching this young man assume such adult responsibilities.
I took both of the boys to see a stage production of To Kill a Mockingbird.  It was fabulous!  They both will be reading the book.  It revealed a piece of American history and gave them food for thought and it fit right in with some of the things we had been reading, viewing and talking about during February, Black History Month.
Bishop continued with his history group where he has begun studying Ancient Rome.

He spent some time in the kitchen preparing souvlaki and baklava for our history group's Greek history fun day.

Our Greek History Fun Day began with our Greek feast.
Then we moved on to studying the Olympics, both ancient and modern.
The kids got prepared for competition.

Bishop's outfit evolved throughout the Olympic games.
(The sheep "hat" was worn by him as a way to honor the sheep of Greece.  In preparing the feast he learned that beef is not often served in Greece because their terrain does not allow for pasture lands ample enough for cattle but sheep are easily maintained there).

As a nod to the modern Olympics the kids marched in to their Olympic games with the torch to the sound of "The Buglers Dream."
Then the games began - opening with the javelin
and ending with the most dangerous, life-threatening event (as they did in ancient times), a fighting event.

After the Olympics the kids moved on to taking a closer look at ancient Greek culture and had the opportunity to make mosaics and tragedy/comedy masks.
It was a fun-filled day of learning and fellowship!

Bishop also attended a class at Wonders of Wildlife related to nocturnal, diurnal, and crepuscular animals.

And then attended WOW's dissection workshop.  At this workshop they covered classification, which reinforced what he had been reading in his Biology textbook, and met animals from some of the animal classes.

He then dissected a rat.

Bishop also read In the Garden with Dr. Carver by Susan Grigsby and The Groundbreaking, Chance-Taking Life of George Washington Carver by Cheryl Harness in preparation for a much-anticipated field trip to the George Washington Carver National Monument.  Although some of us did make the trip, which I will tell you about in another post, Bishop did not make the trip as he was not feeling well.  We will reschedule and he will be prepared.
He also made progress in his Ranger's Apprentice book and did some drawing.

Many adventures were had and there are more on the horizon.
Always moving forward in this educational journey of ours
and loving it!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Last Weeks Frugal Accomplishments

*52 Week Savings Plan:  I have made three deposits to this savings plan in the amounts of $20, $5, and $15 bringing my total to $90!

I began this post a couple of weeks ago and never got it posted.  (Sometimes life just moves so fast - you understand, don't you?)  I have decided to just tack on the information related to these last two weeks and call it good.  So for the 52 week savings plan I deposited $29 and $31; adding $60 to the previous balance for a total of $150.

*Christmas Jar of Change:  I added another $2.00 to our Christmas jar for a new total of $53.54.  Although that total is not entirely accurate.  The week before last I counted up my change, made a notation on a small slip of paper, added the change to the jar, got diverted before making my way to the computer to make a blog entry, lost the scrap with the notation and now I know that my total is not entirely accurate.  I will just consider that a bonus at the end of the year!

The change that I tucked away over the last two weeks equals $11.05 for a new total of $64.59.

*Favorite Frugal Accomplishments:

I have to be honest here,  I have been flying by the seat of my pants and have not been consciously frugal.  I have not even maintained my accountability log, my spending journal.  I have, however, kept all receipts and will do my best to update it soon.  I hope that it will not be too shocking.

The only accomplishment that I can think of to log would have to do with some Christmas gift purchases I made and, boy, did I score.  I had a 30% off coupon for Kohl's and, not wanting to make a trip to the store when I didn't really need something in particular, I went online to scope out their clearance items.  Lo and behold, I found many items that I had looked at purchasing for the kiddos this last Christmas marked down significantly.  I nabbed 22 items for $300, earned $50 Kohl's cash, and will also be getting 6% back through Ebates.  I am so ahead of the game now.  It really pays to approach Christmas gift giving with forethought.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Lest you get to thinking that everything has been all about the kiddos and the things that they want to do I thought I would share with you the play dates that my sisters and I had.  
We did some experimenting with encaustic.

Samantha didn't piddle with wax but she scrapbooked in the glory of our presence. Ha!
Seeking out inspiration.
Making important decisions.
Adhering with the wax.

In progress.
Finished products.
The final evening that Christie was here we opted to do another artful experiment - bleaching paper to be used in other art projects.  It was cold outside so we opted to do this in the warmth of my kitchen.  Next time I will wait until it is warm and I can do it outside - there is a reason why the instructions said to do it in a well ventilated area.  I do think that our efforts were well worth the respiratory trauma.

For the record, I love everything that we did with the kiddos.  I love hikes and history and scientific explorations.  I find them invigorating.  But I also found invigorating the time spent with my sisters, artfully experimenting, creating.  Thanks, girls, it was fun!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Living the Lifestyle with Joseph...Continued

The learning adventure continues with my sister, Christie, and her son, Joseph.
Joseph joined us for our Greek history fun day.
And Christie, Joseph and I went to the George Washington Carver National Monument, which I really recommend.  It is a delightful place and Carver is an inspiring man.
We walked the trail from which we spotted numerous entertaining birds, particularly several downy woodpeckers.
A cardinal must have met an untimely death but he left beautiful scarlet remnants for us.
We were surrounded by so much beauty.
And we had so much fun...
exploring every bit of natures offerings.

And when all was said and done Joseph had become a Junior Ranger.
It was a fantastic adventure!

They also checked out Bass Pro and its fascinating soft shell turtles,
Joseph did a second play-in-a-day at the theatre and they both managed to spend time with the rest of the family.  It has been such a joy getting to spend time with my sister and getting to know better her wonderful son!
Thanks for joining us, guys!