Friday, April 24, 2015

Five In A Row: Owl Moon

This week we enjoyed reading an old favorite of the kids and mine, Owl Moon.  This book is about a child and their dad who go owling in the woods at night looking for a Great Horned Owl.  It's a great story and one that all three of us enjoyed each time we sat down to read it.

Because several of our books talk about being brave this week, we went back to our character quality of Courageous for Bible/Character Qualities.  This is one I don't feel we can emphasize too much in our house, in particular.  For Math, we continued with Math-U-See Alpha and we also continued with Explode the Code Book 3 for Language Arts.  Handwriting was also covered by sheets from our Memoria Press Copybook 1 and extra sheets I found on Pinterest.

For Social Studies, we talked about respecting nature and exploring/enjoying it, but also taking care of it.  I don't think these concepts really sunk in very far, but at least it was something.  I want my kids to love this world and be good caretakers of it as well.

For Science, we talked about Owls and what makes them different from other birds.  My five year old boy LOVED hearing about how owls regurgitate the parts of their food that they can't digest into pellets and could not believe that I didn't order one for us to dissect (maybe another time son...).  We also talked about the moon a lot and reviewed our phases of the moon, adding in waxing and waning terminology.  My kids love hearing about the moon!!!

We had a crazy week, so we didn't get any art done, but we did have a really fun food project reviewing the phases of the moon with...Moon pies!!!  We have done this before with oreo cookies, but this was better for sure.  The kids and I loved it!!  I will totally do this again, just for fun :)

So that was our week with Owl Moon!

Resources and printable sheets I used for Owl Moon can be found at:
My Five In A Row Pinterest Board

Go Along books we used for Owl Moon (* indicate ones we especially liked):
*Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
*Good-night Owl by Pat Hutchins
*Owl Babies by Martin Waddell (LadyBear's personal favorite)
*Owls by Gail Gibbons
*So That's How the Moon Changes Shape by Allan Fowler
*Owls: Birds of the Night by Emily Sollinger
*Owls by Tom Jackson
*On the Moon by Anna Milbourne and Benji Davies
*What Is The Moon Like by Franklyn M. Branley
*The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons
*What the Sun Sees/What the Moon Sees by Nancy Tafuri
*Moon (Eyewitness Books) by Jacqueline Mitton
The Moon by Carmen Bredeson
I Want to be an Astronaut by Byron Barton

Our story disc in Northern New England, which is a popular area on our map!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Five In A Row: Miss Rumphius

This week, we read a book that I really enjoy and the kids seemed to as well, called Miss Rumphius. Because Daddy had Good Friday and the Monday following Easter off (hooray!), we decided to take two weeks to cover Miss Rumphius because there were going to be two shorter weeks and I didn't want to short-change either this book or the one we are reading next.  It worked out well!

We loved this book!  And I personally enjoyed applying it to where we currently live in Central Texas.  Not having grown up here, I know very little of Texas history and this gave me a chance to learn alongside the kids :)  Plus, who doesn't love wildflowers!?  

So here's what the week looked like...For Bible/Character building, we talked about being creative and what that means.  We read the Value of Creativity and talked about different ways we can be creative throughout our days.

LadyBear and her four-pawed assistant workin' on their creativity...

For Math, we did start Math-U-See Alpha and did a mixture of sheets each day from lessons 6 and 7, which went well.  For Language Arts, each day we did Explode the Code Book 3 lesson 4 and for Handwriting, we continued each day with the Memoria Press Copybook 1 and we did some Miss Rumphius copy work that I found through Pinterest. 


For Social Studies we talked about Texas and the fact that the state flower is the Bluebonnet, which is a Lupine.  We read a lot about bluebonnets specifically and also Texas history. 

These are such a beautiful state flower to have!

We also talked about what we can do to make the world more beautiful, like Miss Rumphius.  We also read a great book about LadyBird Johnson and her contribution to making our country more beautiful.  I REALLY wanted to work in a field trip to the LadyBird Johnson National Wildflower Center, which is about two hours away from us (and super close to our cousins!), but time and budget didn't really allow for that.  We'll definitely visit another time!

I chose to smile and use kind words more.  LittleBear was inspired and chose to draw pictures for people, help, give kisses and hugs.  

For Science, we talked about seeds and how they grow and move around.  We compared seeds from different plants side-by-side and even looked at the different kinds of Lupines from our Seed Catalog. 

Comparing Seeds...

Gettin' silly with the seed catalog...

We also talked about the parts of a plant, the parts of a flower, and how pollination happens, as well as discussions about wildflowers, particularly the ones native to Central Texas.  

 Some seeds stick to things to move around!

Last week we planted seeds in our garden and this week they started to sprout, so we went out each day and watched our little plants grow, which was really fun.  

Peas and Carrots!!

Thankfully, it's also the season where Texas families go out and take Bluebonnet pictures, so we also got to touch, smell and see how beautiful Lupines really make the world!  LittleBear has already decided that we are planting as many bluebonnets as we can in our backyard this coming Fall for next Spring.  I love that idea!

LittleBear and LadyBear exploring... 

For Art, we did a dot art project and made our own bluebonnets.  LittleBear worked really hard on his and was super proud of it.  LadyBear enjoyed it too.  

LittleBear working on his lupine art picture...

It was a great couple of weeks and we learned a ton!  The kids also get super excited whenever we are driving around and they see the wildflowers, which is definitely fun.  

Resources and printable sheets I used for Miss Rumphius can be found at:
My Five In A Row Pinterest Board

Go Along books we used for Miss Rumphius (* indicate the ones we especially liked):
Central Texas Wildflowers leaflet by Steven Schwartzman
*Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers by Kathi Appelt
*A Child's History of Texas by Sarah Jackson
*It's Bluebonnet Time by Lucas Miller
*I Spy in the Texas Sky by Deborah Ousley Kadair
*Bluebonnet of the Hill Country by Mary Brooke Casad
Bluebonnet at the Texas State Capitol by Mary Brooke Casad
*Bluebonnets for Lucinda by Frances Clarke Sayers
*L is for Lone Star (A Texas Alphabet) by Carol Crane
*Texas (Eyewitness Books) by Simon Adams & David Murdoch
*Check It Out by Gail Gibbons
*The Value of Creativity by Ann Donegan Johnson
*Texas Wildflower Portraits by Lou Ellen O'Kennon
Texas (State Shapes) by Erik Brown
The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie DePaola
ABC's of Texas Wildflowers by Glenna Gardiner Grimmer
Texas Gardening Wildflowers by McMillen's Publishing

The book doesn't specifically say where it takes place, but it's generally agreed upon to be Maine.  However, our story disks for New England are so plentiful that Maine can no longer be seen, so we put the disk over the part of the country where we live :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring Garden 2015

Spring is here around our area and that means that our Spring garden is also underway.  It might not look like much, but from up-close, there is a lot going on!  My quest for an edible lawn continues!!!

This year, I rebuilt my two 4x4 beds and hope they will hold up better than my last ones did (I used 10x4x2 boards instead of 6x4x1 boards).   I also added a 4x8 bed to our garden and in it is planted 21 crowns of Jersey Giant Asparagus.  These are supposed to be 2 year old crowns, which I should let grow to fern and then next Spring, I'll be able to harvest asparagus to eat for the next 15-20 years.  For now, each crown is sending up one shoot per crown (though one crown has sent up 2 already).  From my research, after the crowns establish themselves, they'll start sending up more shoots.  I noticed the other day that our last crown (which I had just about given up on) was sending a tiny shoot through the earth, so I'm thrilled to announce that all of them are producing.  Hooray!  For a newbie gardener like me, this is good news.

 Asparagus fern with little bell flowers on it...actually rather pretty!

 The last tiny baby asparagus shoot to come up...

I asked the kids what they wanted to plant this year and LittleBear wasted no time in shouting out, "Peas!"  So, LittleBear planted his peas.

 LittleBear's peas...we have Tall Telephone and Sugar Anne Snap this year...

LadyBear wanted to plant corn and carrots, so for the first time ever, we are attempting to grow corn and I'm giving carrots another try.

 Corn...we have Golden Bantam and Wade Giant Indian Flint Corn (just for fun because I think they are so pretty!)

 LadyBear's carrots...we have Chantenay Red Core Carrots this year instead of the baby ones I tried before...

We also have:

 Brussel Sprouts!  This is my first time growing these, so I'm curious to see how that goes.

Broccoli!!!  My last broccoli plant grew to be HUGE and didn't really produce any broccoli, so I'm hoping I have selected a better variety for my area this time around.

Zucchini!!!  A favorite of mine and LadyBear's and very easy to grow...

Green Beans!  I grew these a few years ago and they were super easy, so I'm hoping for another good year this year!

There is a sneaky melon plant coming up that I didn't intentionally plant, but I think was inadvertently planted by the critter who stole my melons off the plant last year (grr).  It's either this fancy french melon or a honeydew, but I'm not sure which yet (I'm leaning toward tit being a honeydew).

We also have planted green and orange sweet bell peppers and basil, but those take a while to come up (they are in the above box next to the green beans).  I'll also plant one cherry tomato plant, but I haven't figured out exactly where yet.

As I type, the garden is getting a wonderful bath from a rain shower, which I am super thankful for.  Grow, little plants!  Grow!!

My happy blueberry bush!!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter from the Browns!!!

He is risen!!!!!  (Picture LadyBear in your mind saying, "He is risen, indeed!")  We hope that you have enjoyed this Easter weekend and that you know of the freedom, hope and joy that come from the death and resurrection of Christ!

After a wonderful service at church, we headed home.  The kids were good sports as we took our Easter pictures...

 Then it was time for our annual Easter egg hunt.  One of the favorite books we had in our Easter book basket (see our book list at the end of this post) this year was The Legend of the Easter Egg, so the kids enjoyed remembering why we were hunting for eggs this year, which was fun.

 A hunting we will go...

 Make sure you each pick up only the eggs with your initials on them!

Brother, you have one up there!

Got one!
That was fun!

Several other things we did this year to try and make Lent/Easter a special time were:
- placing a sticker on each day of Lent with this calendar from Catholic Icing

- adding an ornament to our Jesus Tree (similar to the Jesse Tree at Christmas, telling the story of Jesus' life with ornaments).  Admittedly, we got off track with this, but when we did do it, it went over well.

- adding a toothpick each day to a grapevine wreath.  Each toothpick symbolized our sin that Jesus took upon himself and made a crown of thorns.  This morning, I replaced our crown of thorns with a royal crown symbolizing Jesus is the King of Kings.  That went over really well :)

 And reading books from our Easter book basket.  We read from these selections every day, sometimes multiple times a day.  Here were the books we used :

The Legend of the Easter Egg by Lori Walburg
Petook by Caryll Houselander
The Story of Easter by Patricia A. Pingry
The Very First Easter by Paul L. Maier
The Week That Led to Easter- Arch Books by Joanne Larrison
The Very First Easter (The Beginner's Bible) by Mission City Press
The Legend of the Three Trees by Catherine McCafferty
The Parable of the Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs
God's Easter Promise (Only God Would Have Planned It That Way) by Todd Barsness
Easter Is For Me! by Christine Tangvald
The Story of Easter by Alice Joyce Davidson
Why Is There A Cross? by Kathleen Long Bostrom
Who Is Jesus? by Kathleen Long Bostrom

When it got to be 12 days before Easter, we also started Resurrection eggs before bed and reading Benjamin's Box to go along with the eggs. 

Hopefully with all of this, the kids are learning about the importance of Easter... 

I leave you with a song we sang in church this morning that describes how my heart feels today and always.  My life is radically different because of the miracle and power of what Christ did.  I hope this miracle is real to you this Easter...He is Risen!!!!!

Friday, April 3, 2015

It's Bluebonnet Time! Bluebonnets 2015

It's that time of year again!  We went back to our favorite field right next to a movie theatre that is STILL for sale and looks like a rug of's beautiful.  We were very careful about where we stepped and found a few bare spots for our pictures in the midst of these beautiful flowers.  They smelled so good!  We felt quite a bit like we were Ferdinand, sitting just quietly and smelling the flowers...

The sun wasn't out at all, but I wasn't able to get LittleBear to stop squinting, so that's what we got.  Oh well, anything is an improvement over the Bluebonnet Pictures Fiasco of 2011...

We have since had a MUCH happier LittleBear :)

LadyBear warmed up to her usual cheerful happy self and gave me some good laughs...

We enjoyed some more time looking at the flowers up close and smelling them and then went on with the rest of our day.  But, I had to take two last pictures before we left :)

A carpet of blue... 

Texas has the most beautiful wildflowers!!

Here are the pictures from last year for comparison..Happy Texas Traditions, Y'all!!!!