Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Homeschooling, foraging, canning..oh so busy here!

Wow, ever since we worked through some issues last week, school has been going great. We are both happy, relaxed, and most importantly, we are having lots of fun.

Spelling words for this week are just a review. For the beginning of the year we will be hitting all the mastery words. So far she hasn't had a problem with any, so it is super quick....
he can cave
let car
say cut
see came

In math this week we are making sure that she has a firm mastery of facts even though she is working on much high level math. So we have worked on what makes 10 this week. Along with reviewing counting by 2's, basic geometry, etc. Pretty quick lessons, but we are easing in to school right now, so it works.

For reading, I just received from my wonderful mom the books used in there 2nd grade classes. We will be quickly working our way through them, focusing on anything we have not covered. I believe we will be into the 3rd grade books in just a few months. But it feels good being able to see any gaps in her knowledge since I know she is reading on a 6th grade level with 4th grade+ comprehension, well and sitting through a 2nd grade lesson would be tedious for her.

History- we are finishing up our unit on prehistory- on nomadic people and their lives and are moving on to the first settlements and study of the fertile crescent.

Science- We are studying the layers of the earth and their make up and will be moving onto volcanoes and the rocks and minerals soon. So excited. A pointed out a cinder cone volcano from our window today. Yep, we can see one from our living room...thankfully it is not the active one on the island. That one can not be seen from here, except for its smoke on a clear day if it is acting up. Today we read "The Magic School Bus, Inside the Earth" and tomorrow we are making play-doh earths and drawing them in our science journals.

My wonderful mom also sent me the 2nd grade language arts/grammar curriculum and we will be working our way through that book.

Tonight we went out and caught a few salmon, picked some berries, and had a campfire at the beach and enjoyed the sunset. Dh cooked over the fire in a cast iron skillet and it was delicious. Its nice to know he can do that, and as A said "If the world came to and end as we know it, like a giant tsunami, we would survive because dad could kill animals and cook for us over a fire." The we listened to 30 mins of her explaining how we would be "survivors" and he detailed plans that involved everything from how to keep the fire going when the weather was bad, to what we would eat for food, how we would build shelter, and how we would stay warm and make clothes. I have to say she had some pretty amazing and resourceful ideas, and I for one would definitely want to be stranded with her here if something happened because her ideas would probably be the ones to keep us alive! LOL.

The rest of this week is going to be busy. DH has taken a much need few days off and will be home, but we are still doing school since he is going fishing in the mornings and sleeping late if he can. By lunch though we are done and it will be nice to have him home. I have SO much I need to do this week. The salmonberries are in and we have been busy picking them, but I need to finish putting them up. I hvae made 2 batches of salmonberry jam. I need to can some plain juice to add to lemonades, seltzers, and to make salmonberry pie with. I also plan on making some salmonberry syrup and canning it. I have fireweed juice frozen, that I made a few weeks ago that I need to make into fireweed jelly and can as well. And I would like to make fireweed honey and can it. That all needs to be done in the next 2 weeks before the blueberries start coming out and I get busy with those, the crowberries, and the cranberries. A loves hot tea and we picked a jar full of wild chamomile last week and dried it. We need to go gather more before the first frost comes so we have enough to last through the winter. This foraging stuff is so fun! So hopefully tomorrow afternoon will be pretty and DH and A can get out and play and I can get busy in the kitchen!

As for now, I am off to bed! Good night all.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sept. Goals

August has almost come to a close. Today is my birthday, and in a few days we will have lived here for a year. Wow, how fast it has gone. It has definitely been an adventure and I pray we will have the opportunity to be here several more years.

With August pulling to a close and a year rounding the corner I have been thinking about the goals I want to accomplish in September. I am not talking homeschool goals necessarily. Really with Ansley I don't have "goals" per say, but just want to help her keep exploring and learning, and being happy.

This month, my goals are to help us become more mindful and relaxed in our day. Ansley seems to suffer from some anxiety, (which she gets honestly) and I would like to incorporate some routines for both of us that are calming and quieting. I want to work on the rhythm of our home, and continue to work on mindful and gentle parenting.

Another goal is to get the homeschool art club off the ground and started by the end of this month. Right now it looks like we have at least 10 kids who will be a part of the group, and I need to get a list of supplies together for the parent. I don't have that much room around my kitchen table, so I am thankful that we have been offered the use of the church. That will make the week go so much smoother for me, as I will not feel the insane need to spotlessly clean my house before every art club day! LOL. So this is a priority on my list for this month.

I want to start baking bread again this month. None of my attempts thus far have been up to snuff, so I had taken a break, but now I am ready to try again. So if anyone has some fail proof recipes, please send them to me. :)

I guess my final goal is to be more tolerant of the constant movement that seems to radiate from my child. At times it can be frustrating for me, but I realize that one of the benefits of homeschooling is that she can move, and that she works best when she is moving (unfortunately for me). One day maybe we will learn to channel that, but for now I will try to be at peace with it LOL.

So that's it. My September goals. We will see LOL.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Conference and Slugs.... not together thankfully LOL. That would have been a disaster.

Today was the annual Unalaska Women's Conference, and I have been working on the planning committee the last few months and donated 2 paintings for the silent auction to help raise money to bring the mobile mammogram to our little island. This morning I had to rise and shine very early for me, and if you recall, I am NOT a morning person. But, I was at the Grand at 7am setting up, manning the registration table, and I was also a speaker. My topic was Finding Time and wrapped up the conference. It was nerve racking but I think it went fairly well considering the last time I did any public speaking was back in grad school nearly 6 years ago!

A spent the day with dad and had tons of fun. They even went salmon fishing and came home with 4 salmon which they cleaned and smoked this afternoon. It has been wet, windy, and generally icky the last few days here (definitely summer saying goodbye it seems, although I am hopeful for another rebound of good weather before the fall and winter squalls settle in). Well, on our porch there set a slug, and this poor unfortunate creature was destined to become fodder for A's imagination. She immediately picked him up and went to work building a "habitat" for him. The poor slug was petted, bathed (yes she actually gave him a bath...several times, because he "keeps getting all muddy mom"), and made to lay on a bed of moss, leaf pillow, and covered with a dandelion leaf blanket. I have a feeling he will be moving away from our yard as fast as his little slug body will carry him tonight. I think 2 hours of playtime with A was probably quite enough in his little slug life. LOL.
Poor slug. As A said "I found a wild slug and I tamed him, and now he is my pet slug." Yeah, I think he would have to disagree with that LOL.

Friday, August 26, 2011


"I wish Pinocchio would never end"

We have 2 chapters left of the original version of this classic story, and to be honest, I don't think I have ever heard the whole story. It is amazing, however I was worried when I picked it up from the library that it would be too deep for A. I was wrong...while there are extremely intense imagery and metaphors throughout the story, and a very large vocabulary, she not only grasps and understands all of it, but LOVES it, and last night she said she wished it would never end.

I am glad I chose it. Maybe now I will stop underestimating her.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Self Portrait

Today DH was late getting home from work, so A and I spent the time working on self portraits.

I gave a basic lesson on what a portrait is, and asked her what she though a self portrait was. I then told her we were going to make our own.

I had cut an oval out of heavyweight paper, and asked her to trace it for the face, then to draw a neck and shoulders. I demonstrated making my own portrait.

We then painted the face and neck, the clothing, and then the background. After they had dried she painted the eyes, nose, and mouth, and then her hair. She spent a great deal of time on this, and I love how it turned out. Behind her is a flag on a flag pole and the sun.

Her first self portrait- This is definitely going in the scrap book (you know that non existent one that I keep telling myself one day I will do, but in the meantime have an ever growing box of things sitting in the closet waiting to go in it. LOL, Yeah, that one)

And no, I am not posting mine since DH made fun of it, and said A's was almost as good as mine. Hey, I never claimed to be able to paint people....hence why they are always notably absent from my paintings LOL. I am much better at florals and landscapes :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Toadstool hopping- from trash to play equipment

There was a crazy lady spotted in Dutch Harbor the other day. Loading her car with trash from a local company. It was a strange and mystifying sight....but with oh so much excitement, she ignored the looks and carried on LOL.

Okay, so I saw these beauties sitting outside an electric shop and I just had to stop and ask if I could have them. They looked at me like I was crazy but told me sure and even lead me to the back of the warehouse were they had piles and piles of them. What are they you might ask?....well, they are cable spools. And they come in all shapes and sizes. So that crazy lady in Dutch Harbor carrying stacks of these things out to her car was me, and yes...I did have a plan for them LOL. Toadstools! Paths of toadstools, perfect for balancing, jumping, and frolicking outside on!

Transformed with a little ingenuity and spray paint....those beauties became ......these........

And of course, I couldn't leave the electric warehouse with only toadstools....Not when this perfect table set right there waiting to be snatched up. Big enough that the wind here will not be an issue, a coat of spray paint, and 2 toadstool chairs, it is the perfect outdoor spot for a snack, play, or anything else A can come up with. Although I have to say, DH was not thrilled about lugging the thing from my car to its new home. I have to give a big shout out to the two guys who took a break from their work to load this thing in my car.

A loves the new addition to her outdoor play area. I couldn't get her off them that night. She was out even in her night gown. I would say these are a hit!

I love our play area- all salvaged materials. So Awesome!

PS- These are anchored down by some pretty heavy stones due to our high winds, and will be brought in when we have our winter storms packing winds over 100 mph, but they are sturdy enough as they are if you attempt to replicate at your own free play area, and don't live in the"birthplace of winds" :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kicking around an idea

I've been kicking around the idea of starting an art club/class out of my home for kids. This hit me the other day when I was painting with A. What fun she and I would both have sharing the creative experiences we love with others. I am not sure how this would work...thinking free, just bring your own materials, and meeting once or twice a month at first.

I have tons of ideas, live in a small town were there is not much to involve A in, and am becoming known on the island as a painter, so I have some credibility. I am thinking starting with a small group of people of know.

I mentioned this to dh tonight, because while I am the creative, jump into an idea and run with it person, he is the logical, see all sides, person when it comes to my ideas. Its a good balance ;)
He liked it. Raised a few questions, and I asked him to think about it and give his opinion on issues I may face and the best way to get it started.

So, tonight I go to sleep pondering.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to School- Goals for 2011-2012

The in laws are gone...the beautiful weather streak we have been having is gone, and the rain and fog appear to be settling back it. So this week, well, this week we will be starting back to school. We did a test run the last few weeks before but had beautiful weather and spent more time outdoors and lots of skipped days. So tomorrow is our official first day of the 2011-2012 school year.

My goals for this year are pretty basic. To continue fostering a love of learning for learning sake. To be relaxed and take each day as it comes. To engage in more projects, more open ended exploration, and free play.

Specific goals include helping Ansley become more confident and independent in her writing since that is a specific area she wants to focus on, setting up more opportunities for her to interact with peers- both age and intellectual/emotional levels (This is a stretch for me specifically due to the small island setting we live in as well as the social anxiety that I have struggled with my entire life. Luckily I have found that setting very specific step goals a week and medication help immensely in my overcoming this part of my personality.), and to be more mindful in my parenting, to be more present, more engaging, and less quick to temper.

So for this week, we are studying the ice age, nomads, etc. in history. Ansley is reading "The Magic Tree House- Sunset of the Sabertooth". We will be (weather permitting LOL) heading outside to make our own cave paints from natural materials and making cave paintings on rocks out in the tundra! She is super excited about this one :)

In math- although Ansley comprehends and is doing 3rd grade and 4th grade math concepts we will be working on shoring up math facts to 20 so that I know she has a strong backbone for what she wants to work with.

Science- layers of the earth- lots of cool projects...need I say more?! LOL, if you know my child you know she is bouncing off the walls at the thought of this one.

Writing/Grammar- Ansley asked tonight if she can write letters to MeMom and PopPop, and to Grammy, to tell them how much she enjoyed seeing them, so that's what we will be doing.

Ansley and I also have BIG plans for something outside....big plans!!!! Fingers crossed the weather lets us. Not sharing this one yet LMAO. But it will be awsome!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A quick post :)

My in-laws have been in town all week and it has been great seeing them and A's great grandmother- Grammy. It has been a year since we saw them last.

Today was Tundra Golf time again....and it was beautiful day for it. I will be posting pics later. Right now DH is making a Low Country Boil for dinner, and then I have plans to head out to do some salmonberry picking and to collect some fireweed for making fireweed jelly and honey. Next week I will be busy preserving and canning. Can't wait! Okay, quick post over LOL. Back later to post pics of today :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My newest painting- going to be auction off...thoughts?

Just finished this tonight. I am doing 2 paintings for the Women's Conference that I am speaking at. The will be sold to raise money to bring the mobile mammogram to the island.

What do y'all think? I don't think the picture does it justice, the colors are better in real life. It is Large! 3ft by 3ft.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hiking Ugadaga Bay Trail

We have been doing a lot of hiking lately with the gorgeous weather we have been having. We hiked the Ugadaga Bay trail when my mom was here. We didn't make it all the way. We didn't have enough time to do the 4.4 miles round trip. But we plan to do this one weekend, while taking a picnic lunch and spending the day at the beach. It's only assessable by water or this trail, I can't wait to actually reach it!