Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Monday, February 20, 2017

Our Valentine's Day Celebrations


You might be getting old when...


You go out to dinner the day before Valentine's Day to avoid the crowds.  And you leave the house at 5 pm.


Actually, it was a nice dinner out, at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants.  We had fun.


Usually, we graph conversation hearts every year for Valentine math.  This year, I decided to change things up a bit.


We had a heart candy comparison, instead.  I passed out four different kinds of heart candies, and they tasted them and wrote descriptions.  Then they ranked them from favorite to least favorite.


Then the trading began, because different kids had different favorites.


This kept them occupied for quite a while.


Next, I passed out new books!  Katie got Hello Kitty and Bernstein Bears, Hannah got Katie Woo and Nancy Drew, and Jack got Arthur and Nate The Great.


My kids love getting new books, and I love seeing them excited about reading!


Katie's reading is really coming along.  She's doing well sounding out a lot of words now.


We haven't read the Katie Woo books before, but there's a bunch of them, so I thought I'd see what Hannah thought, and maybe pick up some more of them.


Katie also got to read our Valentine-appropriate Biscuit books during nap time this week.  Biscuit and Boynton books were favorites when Jack was a toddler, so these always make me nostalgic.


Unfortunately, I had a little mishap that landed me in the dentist's chair unexpectedly for an hour and a half on Valentine's Day.  That was Not Fun.  I was glad that Paul and I had gone out to dinner the night before.


Grammy sent the family s'mores kits!  Isn't this the cutest idea?


We didn't use them on Valentine's Day, because we had birthday cake that day, but when we did use them, it was fun.


Lighting things on fire is always fun.


Love the deadpan expression.


Everybody got to roast their own marshmallows.


Katie did great, and really loved the resulting s'mores.


As did everyone, really.


Fire, mess, chocolate, what more could a kid ask for?


I picked this up at Cost Plus last time Eli and I ran to Trader Joe's, but you can also get shaped pasta online, including these hearts.


The "pink" hearts turned orange when they were cooked, but that's okay.  I added alfredo sauce and leftover peas, and the girls loved it.  I think we might need shamrock pasta for St. Patrick's Day.


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Friday, February 17, 2017

Our Week with 2 Birthdays


It's exciting to see signs of spring coming!  The trees are budding, daffodils are up.  I'm looking forward to warmer weather so we can get outside more.


We're still learning about birds.


This week, I laminated 2 sets of bird identification cards I found online to go with the bird toobs that I added to our collection of plastic animals.


We learned in our read aloud that Mr. Audubon would arrange dead birds on a grid and copy them square for square.


We used our GeoBlocks (affiliate link) to play a game.


I would say the capital, and the kids would guess the country.


Jack and Hannah each got 5, but there were still quite a few that neither got.


Speaking of blocks, Katie used our Can Do Cubes to spell out the names of the different birds on our cards.


Each time she spelled a bird name, I'd show her the bird figure that matches the picture.


The big kids matched all the bird figures to the cards.


They colored more bird pictures from our copywork pack on Audubon.


Also for geography (but on a different day), I had the kids do our world GeoPuzzle to brush up on where things are overall.


They were surprisingly fast at this one, working together.  I'm going to have them do our other GeoPuzzles, too.


Josiah turned 20 this week!


And Brianna turned 17!


Since both the birthday kids had free scoop coupons, we headed to Baskin Robbins for a treat one day after school.


We had ice cream at home, from the birthday cakes, but somehow, getting to pick your own flavor is more fun.


And the teenagers, of course, really enjoy being photographed while we're out.


Aren't they charming?

In addition to our zoo field trip, we also had another field trip with other homeschoolers this week, but I'll need a separate post to share all those pictures.


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Field Trip Friday: Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary


Last weekend, we went to a different zoo!


The Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary is not your typical zoo.  


The animals at this zoo are rescued animals.  Either injured wildlife, or illegal pets, mostly.  


They have wolves, wolf/dog hybrids, and coyotes.  


There's even a tiger!  Tigers are my favorite.


The miner's shack was a timely exhibit for us, since we recently learned about the gold rush.  The sign told about the so called "miner's cat," an animal that would get into the shacks to eat all the rodents that took shelter there.  The shack is currently inhabited by skunks (behind glass!).


It was a beautiful day!  Sunny and nice, after all the rain we've had lately.


Katie, who is familiar with the Sacramento Zoo, was very anxious about this "different" zoo, and kept asking to go back to previous exhibits instead of going on to see new things.  It was a little weird.


The rest of us really enjoyed this zoo, though.  Jack, in particular, was excited to see wolves.


Folsom Zoo has several peacocks and peahens roaming free.  We could hear their calls before we even got in the gate.


Brianna had the big camera and took a lot of our pictures that day.


The raccoons were being fed, and they were lively and entertaining.


Folsom Zoo is home to several kinds of raptors, including eagles,


and falcons.


I liked the way they had deer roaming in a huge inner loop of the zoo.  They're "contained" but not caged.


The mountain lions were beautiful!


But it was nice to know there was secure fencing between them and us.


Brianna got this shot of a peahen and a peacock hanging out together.


The bears were huge.  They were active, which was a pleasant surprise.  One was playing with a big strip of bark, and this one was walking around.


This cat?  A wild house cat.


His name is Little Bear.  He squeezes into the bear enclosure to hang out with them.  So far, they haven't seemed to mind, and in fact, there's a picture posted of the cat almost nose to nose with one of the bears.  I'm guessing the zoo keeps those bears really well fed.


Just to give us an idea how big those big bears are.


Bigger than my tall boy.


Speaking of Eli, when we were listening to the raven laugh at us, he made an Edgar Allan Poe reference.  Proud mama moment.


She was having fun with my camera, so I asked her to take some pictures of me when we went to the park after the zoo.


Some of them cut off part of my head, but this one is okay.


 The park is literally next door to the zoo, which is really nice.


We ate our lunch in the sunshine.


The park has an Old West theme to it, with a covered wagon and a mini ghost town.


Even the teenagers played.  Eli and Brianna bounced and bounced on this thing.


I loved being able to point out the stagecoach depot and see how long it used to take to get from place to place.

Folsom Zoo was worth the drive, and they even have a Groupon special.  I want to take the kids to see the historic Folsom Powerhouse, too.  I could totally see us doing a few more Folsom field trips.


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