Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

You might homeschool if your kids go off into the backyard and look for caterpillars to grow into butterflies.  Know how to feed them and what to do when they emerge from their cocoons.  To be fair we have done this before but actually paid for the caterpillars.  My kids got smart and found some for free in our backyard.  It helps that we have a backyard with trees.  Specifically citrus trees.  My daughters, yes the girls not one of the gaggle of boys I have, found the caterpillars on our citrus trees.  They are Giant Swallowtail Butterflies - some of the largest butterflies in North America. 

If you are interested in doing this project yourself you can order a kit online or find your own caterpillars.  If you do it yourself you will need a mesh enclosure for them to live in (ours was reused from when we ordered the kit), and you will need to research how to feed them both as a caterpillar and as a butterfly.  Make sure you are getting the correct caterpillars or you could end up with a house full of moths or worse, worms and bird poop (some of these really do look like bird poop). 

Which ever you choose, it is so worth it.  Have fun bug hunting and be sure to post your own pictures if you get some to turn into butterflies!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm Thankful

This year its not hard for me to find things to be thankful for. 

I am thankful I got more time with my son, that he is in remission and able to walk again. 

I am thankful for those who care about us: friends, family and strangers in ways I never knew they would.

I am thankful for a home in which to call our own.

I am thankful for my animals who bring me joy everyday, who are always there for me, are always warm and always ready with a wet kiss. 

I am thankful for people who care for those who suffer more than are scared of suffering themselves.  Without them we would not have the awesome drs and nurses we do. 

I am thankful to live in a country with access to those drs and nurses, with freedom to homeschool, with choices in what we want to do with our lives, where we want to live and how we want to worship the god of our choice.  I might not agree with everyone but thats what makes our country great. 

I am thankful for a husband and his undying devotion to me and his children. 

I am thankful this horrible awful year is almost done.  May the next one be more blessed and prosperous for everyone. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Light the Night

Thanks for all the sharing and donations to help us reach our goal for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk.  I was really shocked by how many people turned out.  It was our first year and it really warmed my hear to see so many people care about people like my son.  If you are ever looking for a way to get involved with a charity I can't recommend Light the Night enough.  Our areas coordinators were so helpful and very responsive to emails and questions.  Our kids got to be involved which was a big deal to us.  We want that to know what it is to give back.  For them to see how many people whose lives have been touched by Leukemia and Lymphoma, it made them feel not so alone.  We will be doing this again next year for sure. 

Some strangers were nice enough to get a picture of ALL of us.  I think its the only family picture with all 9 kids.

It was a cold cold night right there on the lake. 

There were local "Celebrities" like the Phoenix Suns Gorilla who is seen here dancing. Kids loved him.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

American Heritage Festival

We have been going to the American Heritage Festival for a few years now.  Its something the kids really look forward to.  Its very educational and fun, plus the kids have to walk a lot and practice talking to adults and asking questions.  Even I learn something every time we go.  For instance did you know that to be admitted in to the army you needed to have at least 2 teeth?  That was so you could bite the ends off the gun powder packets.  I guess dentistry wasn't real big back then. 

My 18 month old, who gets upset when the tv is too loud, thought the battles were hilarious.  "haha big boom.  haha fall down.  die."  He had the whole stand cracking up.  My 8 year old, who wants to be an army man, got way too emotionally invested in these battles. He would get so upset when our side lost or if we had too many casualties. 


Ahhh loud

My boys knew every gun by name.

Troops from all eras. 

When we got home that night the kids made their own reenactments.  With tents and guns and battles and everything.  It was so cute.  They learned a lot and had so much fun. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Craft

My daughter found this craft and the kids ended up really liking it.  Its a no glue craft, just need paper, crayons and scissors.  I think this would make a really good craft to do on Thanksgiving if you are gonna have a bunch of kids to entertain.  You can even use them as place setters. 

You need to either print out the PDF from the above link or draw your own turkey.  My daughter drew her own turkey and then we made enough copies for everyone.  Next up is to let the kids color the turkey.
My daughter is explaining the craft to the kids.

After the turkeys have been colored you have to cut them out.  Make sure you don't cut all the way through to the bottom of the turkey.  We stood ours up in our art area. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


If you can - Go Vote. 

Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good: 'Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm. - Emerson

To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.-Louis L'Amour

Monday, November 5, 2012

Art - Dali

Dali is fun to study because, frankly, anything goes.  The picture does not need to make any sort of sense since he painted from his dreams.  Kids can really get behind that.  That respect him for that, as if he was painting on their level.

If you are in the area or plan to be, check out the Dali museum and their lesson plans before you go. I would love to do that with my kids, they are museum hounds.

I picked up a used copy  of Imagine That that covers Surreal artists like Dali, Ernst and Kahlo.  Besides a short biography it also gives you 2 art ideas for each artist.  I love that because even if one craft doesn't work for you, the other might.  So you don't have to skip that artist just because you can't do that craft.  I also used a Salvador Dali book so the kids could see what his other art looked like since there was only 1 picture in Imagine That. 

My kids loved this craft.  Loved. They had so much fun and were laughing the whole time.  Its a fairly easy project.  You just need magazines, paper, scissors and glue.  And your imagination. 

This is why I keep every magazine that comes through the door.

Don't you love the monkey pooping?  Why is poop so funny?

I love how Joe added his name in true Dali style.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


We got a new addition to our family.  A cute little puppy we rescued from the pound.  They told she was Beagle Basset Hound and it became quickly apparent there is no Basset Hound in her.  Hound maybe, Basset?  I don't think so.

Shes the sweetest dog.  Of course she is a puppy and acts accordingly but its so endearing.  Like you get to have a puppy too often?  Its been 12 years for us.  The kids named her Buttercup and I will find it very funny if she ends up being a Doberman mix and call her Buttercup.  But we thinking maybe Black and Tan Coonhound.  Definitely some Beagle in her.  She has the head like a Beagle.  She has markings like a Rott would but she is lacking the size. Shes big for a Beagle though so she definitely has to have some other bigger dog in her.  Anyone have any idea what kind of pup we got?   

ETA: Vet think she is in fact a Lab/Rott mix.  And for a pup of her age she is even big for a lab.  So I was wrong.  No beagle.  We will have to wait and see what she becomes.  Maybe shes just a really cute Mutt!