Thursday, May 31, 2012

Random stuff we've been up to... (getting caught up)

This is a rather long and photo-heavy post, but it's all of this random "stuff" I've been meaning to post about, so I am just gonna throw it all out there and finally get caught up.  A photo-purge, if you will.  So what have we been up to...?
Doing some math, aka playing with Inchimals.  Love these!

A little geography play with the Tag Map.  Monkey got this for his birthday, but Bug is much more into it.  Go figure.

An idea found via Pinterest - glow sticks in the bathtub.  It was a big hit!

Bug's favorite pastime - driving cars on the bookshelf/window seat.  I found this awesome "road tape" - so simple and fun!

My poor, "unsocialized homeschooler", getting picked up for a go-cart ride by B, a friend from the neighborhood.

Monkey is still reluctant to practice writing, but we have hit on a great way to practice written communication without pen and paper - texting!  He loves sending texts to Dad and Grandma.  I let him try to work out what to say and how to spell things on his own, just giving him hints when asked for help.

Bug, trying to homeschool the dog.  "Look Noodle, that's a kitty."

A delicious lesson about fractions!

Swingin' make me so happy!

Exploring the backyard.  This secluded path through the trees is my favorite part of our yard.  Our house is fairly tiny, but we have just over 3 lovely acres for the kiddos to roam, along with 30+ acres of my in-laws' property that the back of our property butts up against.

We love looking for and identifying animial prints.  Here's a deer track (next to some dirtbike or jeep tracks, not sure which).

Another fun and simple Pinterest idea.  You put some baking soda in a pan, and use a dropper to put small amounts of colored vinegar on it.  Foamy, colorful fun!  Once he used up all of the vinegar, he said "That was amazing!  Can I do it again?"  So I started him with a fresh pan and different colors.  And then he did it a third time after that!  He learned about color mixing and about the chemical reaction that happens between baking soda and vinegar.

Nothing makes me happier than discovering my boy lost in a good book.  Do I care that it's a comic book?  Heck no!  Whatever motivates a kid to stick his nose in a book - you gotta go with it!

Now that the weather has become nice again, we've been getting back into hiking.  As you may gather from this photo, we found this fantastic millipede at Johnson Woods State Nature Preserve.  This is a great, little-known park, kind of in the middle of nowhere, near Orrville, Ohio.  The whole trail is a raised boardwalk, which prevents hikers (and small boys!) from straying from the path and causing damage to the surrounding natural areas.  According to the map, "Johnson Woods is one of the largest and least-disturbed old-growth forest known to remain in Ohio."  It also states that when settlers first arrived on this land in 1823, "many of the trees were nearly 200 years old... having sprouted before the pilgrims came to America on the Mayflower."  That really gives you something to think about as you stroll among the old giants.

On another hike, we discovered what I believe is the most beautiful scenic spot in this area.  I can't believe in my 35 years of living here, I had never been to this place before.  This is the view from the Overlook Deck at Cascade Valley Metro Park in Akron, Ohio.  The deck is perched 125 feet above a hairpin turn in the Cuyahoga River - the views are stunning!

Tried to get a good shot of the boys on the deck, and this was the best I managed.  (Something was in Monkey's eye.)

This cliff is off to the right of the deck.  It's full of holes containing bird nests, and many of them are constantly flying in and out.

Went to a real bowling alley for the first time with a group of homeschoolers.  The boys had a blast - we must do this again!

Even though it's blurry, I love this shot of Bug, who insisted on carrying his bowling ball.  "I do it all by myself" is a phrase he is saying often these days.

My Mother's Day card from the kiddos.
We love to "help" Mom bake!

Blowing bubbles in memory of Ainsley and Evelyn Knepper.  (You can read their story at Maybe if You Just Relax.)

Another hike - this is from our walk at the Towpath Trail that I wrote about before.

Homeschool park day at Amazone.  What goes up...

Must come down!

In the arcade at Amazone with his buddy, E.  They also played laser tag together - Monkey's first time.

The boys, taking a virtual roller coaster ride.

Examining a dead carpenter bee.  Helping him overcome his phobia?  He has lately been terrified of bees and wasps, to the point where he's often afraid to go outside on nice days.  Someone told me that if you tie a Bounce dryer sheet on your belt loop, it repels them.  I searched online to see if it was true and found nothing conclusive, but we've been trying it lately.  Not sure if it works (it seems like it does) or if it's just a "Dumbo's magic feather" effect, but it's helping him (and me) relax outside.

Just hanging around at another homeschool park day.  LOVE this shot of Bug.

Tire swings are the bestest!

Our blueberry bushes are absolutely loaded with berries again this year.  Can't wait till they're ripe!

Bug on a tractor ride in the backyard with Uncle Pat.

So there you go.  Sometimes I start to second-guess myself and feel like we're not doing much of anything, but when I look through all of my pics and all of my posts on here, I am able to see the bigger picture and feel better about things.  Coming up: one more old news / catching up post, about the MonsterPianos concert we attended back in March, one about our experience with planting various seeds using our root viewer kit, and one about our trip to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium the other day.

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