Friday, March 22, 2013

Art and Ponies and Songs...Oh My!

What a week this has been...

I was hesitant to share this but I think I will anyway. Among the many things that we did this week, was my going back to school! I am so excited to be a student again! When I graduated high school, I thought I knew what I wanted to do (NOT!) so I went to school for computer information systems and the knowledge that I obtained was beneficial and kept me gainfully employed the decade following college. However, now at 30something, I believe I have finally located my passion or gift. I've often told people that I either didn't know what my gift was or that I didn't have a gift at all. Some listeners would say, "well what are you passionate about?" My most sincere and honest response was, "I honestly can be passionate about anything and am passionate about most things that I do;" so that didn't narrow down the field. Without a passion for a specific undertaking, I have tremendous difficulty accomplishing it and most often, don't.

I've noticed though, this absolute love for teaching has grown stronger and stronger within me over the past 7 years. I absolutely love presenting information in a way that is grasped and sticks with children. I don't just appreciate the arts and crafts and nature walking side of home schooling (we don't do very much of that anyway) but I love the let's get down in and dig into a concept and add to your knowledge base--I love it! That is so exciting to me. It is how I interact with my children, it is how I passed time and interacted with them as babies. I did it through teaching. I wasn't good at all with the baby-talk and baby games and mommy and me classes. I could though, get down there and stick with a 9 month old until she could point out all 26 letters of the alphabet when asked "where's the J or L or Z." That? That I could do all week long without skipping a beat. And now that that 9 month old is 7 and learning multiplication, I am eager and chomping at the bit to get in there help her"get it!"

Her baby sister, came right behind her and could point out all 26 letters of the alphabet at 10 months old, they both were reading fluently by age 4, doing simple math before going into kindergarten, and whatever else that I could think of to teach them. All before we had a curriculum to speak of. So, in short, I think I have a knack for it and now I am returning back to college to obtain the official knowledge on it. I am excited!

That was not supposed to be such a long opening to this post. On to what went down this week. We visited TELLUS Science Museum. I'm becoming convinced that if you've visited one science museum, you've visited them all. But that's my point of view, the kids all had fun no matter how many science museums they've been to.
Serious about panning for gems

We stopped at a random pony ride "situation" that we saw in a little town south of us. It was sort of funny, we rode by and they were setting up this little corral for the three ponies they were taking out of the trailer while two men hammered posts for a banner that said "PONY RIDES," all in front of a random strip mall. Doesn't that strike you kind of funny? I dont know, all I could think was "makeshift pony rides" while my girls were yelling in the back "ooooooo ponies...ponies rides ooooooooo." So we went to lunch and stopped in on our way back.

In hindsight, I don't know how random it was, they had a long line forming by the time we finished riding. LOL!

Good thing we stopped because we visited the little strip mall behind the set-up and found a good globe for the girls room and our homeschool. We stopped in a piano store and I had the chance to watch our 7 year old become enamored and gleeful as she found herself surrounded by thousands of little black and white ivory piano keys. She was in her zone!!! We tried leaving three times and she always said, "I'm not ready." Most parents may hear that statement from their kids all of the time, but we don't! Our kids are quite compliant with us, especially in public...they've been trained. So to hear that from her, I knew it was coming from a very passionate place within. Of course she couldn't resist tickling those ivory. Here she is practicing an original piece that she's name "Rainshowers."

We were able to get two full days of schooling done before flu-like symptons hit our house. Both girls were sporting temps up to 103 and 104...not fun. On our last good day though, we were able to paint springtime tulips, an art activity that I found at Art Project for Kids. This site is soooo helpful! Please check it out if you've never visited. She has awesome art skills for all ages and freely
shares some of them on her blog.

Chelsea recovering on the chaise with Ellie

Well that about sums up our week. Thanks for reading...

Oh wait! In case you haven't noticed, we finished our 3 song from Silly School Songs, The 5 Senses. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Also if you like it, like us on facebook here. How could I almost forget one of the most exciting things that happened this week...geesh! Thanks for reading, check out my lovely link ups page to find out where I'm linking up this week!

One last thing, feel free to leave a link in the comments if you did some pretty awesome things this week also, I'd love to read about it and comment your blog!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's Here! It's Here! The 5 Senses Song!

Thank you for listening to our songs and a few of you even downloaded The 3 States of Matter of Song! Thank you soooo much!

Well we are in the process of setting up our facebook page, linking to twitter and starting a website/blog. If you love or like these songs....PLEASE tell us on facebook and bare with us as we figure it all out. 

If you use any of these songs in your homeschool...PLEASE write back to us on Silly School Songs or here at mommytheteacher to let us know how you use them and how your kids love them. Let us know if they are helping out your homeschool!

We love music and we love educating our children, so this seemed like a natural course for us, your support in anyway is greatly appreciated.

Next Song: Plant Life! Just in time for Spring! We will be doing a series of Life Science songs in the coming months.

Thank you,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

10 Reasons to Plant a Garden

As most of you know, gardening has been one of those activities that has taunted me and somehow simultaneously drawn me. I have been in love with the "idea" of gardening for quite some time now and have this year, decided to jump in with both "hands" in this case!

It is due to this undying desire to garden that I write this post; 10 Reasons to Plant a Garden. Just in case there are more like me out there who've wanted to but have lacked the courage and/or confidence. In my case, it was both. Yes, I lacked them both!

1. It is environmentally friendly; producing clean air. You don't have to "dig" to deep to see that one. I mean, what was it, 5th grade that we learned that trees and plants breathe in our carbon dioxide and return to us oxygen? Therefore, it cleans the air around you. That's good for the environment and healthy for us and our families.

2. You'll reduce the amount of garbage in your trash stream as well as in the landfills. If you are like us, rather than buy fertilizer for our garden, we started a FREE compost. That's right, we could have gone the easy route but because we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables already, instead of tossing the remains down the garbage disposal, we toss it in the compost bin where it decomposes and will be used to fertilize our garden spot. You'll have less use for the plastic bags and plastic containers that our produce is usually packaged in.

3. Gardening is cost effective. I honestly feel that produce is not too terribly expensive. I've bought from Publix where I've found the prices to be surprisingly affordable and better than Kroger. However, no matter how inexpensive produce is, it will never be as little a cost as buying a pack of seeds which will yield more fruits and veggies than you probably normally buy. You will most likely give some away to neighbors. Which leads me to number 4.

4. You will have more than enough to share. Your garden will produce more harvest than you can eat and probably more than you would normally buy on your grocery trip. Ergo, you'd most likely share with your family and friends and neighbors. A lady in my Mother's neighborhood planted peppers last year and she had so much that on her morning walk, she stopped by several homes (my mom's included) just giving them away. They were delicious as I was also a recipient!

5. It's healthier. It is healthier to grow your own veggies, herbs and fruits as you most likely wont use harmful pesticides for you and your family to consume, which are in turn, harmful to the environment. Have you heard about the fact that bees are becoming endangered and extinct? It is mostly due to the harmful pesticides that are killing them and stopping the natural process of pollination which we need or else our crops will become endangered and extinct!! So lets pray for our farmers and agriculture industry to consider what it is they are actually doing and how to better the process. As a home gardener though, there are simple natural ways to deter insects from eating up your crop. I will share these in another post.

6. Gardening is considered good exercise. It has been reported that 20 minutes of gardening is considered a good cardio workout. I'm not sure if it was the fact that I didn't do much exercising over the winter months but after turning the soil and pulling up weeds from our garden spot, my hamstring muscles were sore the next day and I broke a small sweat while working out there. Not bad.

7. It brings the family together. The kids love getting out there with me to prepare our garden for seed time. Maybe it's their age (they are 7 and 4) so if you have small children, get them involved, turn it into a Life Science lesson, that's what I'm doing. We are writing a new Silly School Song about it also. The 5 Senses song is 98% complete! At any rate, some of our most energetic and meaningful
family times lately have been in and around the compost bin and the garden spot.

8. You get to see seed time and harvest in action. If you are a Christian, like us, you've heard plenty of Biblical references and scripture about seed time and harvest as it is the prime example of how the Kingdom of God operates and one of the most famous parables of all time. As an Executive Chef friend of ours told my husband once, "If you really want to understand how God works, plant a garden!" Enough said.

9. It's a simpler way of life that makes us more self-sufficient. I don't know about you, but I love the idea of being self-sufficient whenever and wherever I can. The idea of being able to plant, produce and harvest all in my backyard is the thought that continually draws me to the idea of gardening.

10. It is good for the Earth. Thereby again, being environmentally friendly. Once you've harvested your crop the final time for the season, all of the plant life that remains will die where its planted and re-fertilize the soil where its planted for next year! How cool is that? God's built in plan of recycling.

Now, I am not your Earth loving nature girl but I do like to do my part and what I reasonably can to protect our environment. I am definitely not a proponent of ruining it for our future generations. I consider us to be right down the middle of the road. We are not perfect but we are conscious of it. I hope our efforts will encourage others to start right where they are and enjoy the process of becoming more green.

You can also check out my older post entitled, Baby Steps to Becoming More Green. Linking up to Top Ten Tuesday!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Top 10 FREE Field Trips in GA

After attending home school day at the Capitol for the first time, I was inspired to research more free field trip opportunities and now share them in a post. The only thing, I live in GA so my field trip top 10 list is specific to GA.

1. Home School Day at the Capitol. Of course this one is first because we just attended. This trip was fun, educational and surprising. If you've read my most recent post, you know that there was a home school music band playing on the floor of the south wing, just past the Rotunda. They were excellent! The band consisted of middle school and high school home school students. Also, a point of note is that you can visit the Capitol anytime for FREE! You can stop by the desk to let them know you are there for a self guided tour and the attendant will give you name tags and you're on your way!

2. Winter Months at Callaway Gardens.We did this trip last year. Callaway Gardens is in South Georgia. It consists of acres of flower gardens, vegetable gardens, lakes, cabins, cottages, a man-made beach, restaurants, bike and hiking trails and so much more. During their off peak months, you can go their for FREE. If you are teaching Earth Science or Life Science during the winter months or will be doing so in the Spring, this is the perfect free field trip for you.

***Check out our New Solar System Song (by my husband and me) ***

3. Imagine It Children's Museum. I think that this museum has a pricey entrance fee which is why I find it awesome that they offer FREE entrance on the second Tuesday starting at 1:30 p.m (sponsored by Target). Its really a big play area in my opinion. There's art, water play, barn yard activities and dress up.They will usually have a special exhibit being offered also.

4. Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. I found out about this one in my research and talked to my Phillip about it immediately and now this is on our to-do field trip list for the near future. It's always good to expose children to art and here's a way to do it for free. On Thursdays only from 8am - 11am. I checked to make sure that this center was conducive for children (because you know how "art" can be) and I am please to communicate that it is!

5. Center for Puppetry Arts. FREE museum Thursdays! Every Thursday 1pm - 3pm. The Jim Henson Exhibit is included in this offer!

***Check out our 50 States and Capitals (also by us)***

6. Federal Reserve Bank Atlanta. Here's another FREE field trip that my husband's ready to do immediately. He's always been so interested in this part of our History and Government. I am not, but it will make a great field trip if you are studying economics in your homeschool or even if you are on the other end of the spectrum, like me, and are teaching how to count money. This would still make a pretty cool field trip.

7. Govenor's Mansion. The Govenor's mansion offers free guided/self guided tours and a special Christmas season tour schedule. I'm looking forward to doing this one also; all for FREE!

8. Fernbank Science Center. We've done this field trip more than once because it is just so easy, educational and the girls always respond excitedly as they move through the exhibit.They have their favorite stations throughout the museum. This center does take donations and I am always compelled to give because it'd be a shame for this center to one day not be available to children. Also the planetarium is here and so for a nominal fee ($2.50-$3.00) you can learn about and see the constellations of the stars and many more educational science related shows.

9. Fulton County Free Museum Days. I am not a resident of Fulton County so I do not get to participate in these FREE days that are offered by the city of Atlanta but if you do and are interested, do a Google search for the terms 'fulton county free museum days' and you will find week day as well as weekend day offerings all around the city!

10. Atlanta Festivals in the Spring. There is always a festival going on in Atlanta in the Spring time and with Spring being just around the corner it may be time to do a little research as to what is coming up. These festivals can be very educational. They are usually held in a historic part of town and offer cultural arts, music and activities.

Thank you for reading. Hopefully there is an activity on this list that you haven't experienced and now that you know that it is FREE, you will! Linking up at Top Ten Tuesday!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Who are We and What Have We Done with Us?

 Weird post title huh? Well after I share what we've been up to, you may get my drift a little bit better.

Not only did we start juicing...and let me tell you that was enough...but we also started composting for a ...(wait for it)...vegetable garden!!! Yes, we in a week, have started juicing, composting and gardening. That's just crazy to both Phillip and me. It's so, so, "earthy" of us. We're already recyclers but this beats all.

Please do not laugh at our compost bin and the air flow system that I made. LOL I don't even know if it's serving its purpose. 

The thing is, I've always wanted to plant a garden in our backyard but I could never  successfully get my mind around the entire gardening process. It just seemed extremely insurmountable to me.

What would I plant...How do I plan it...When should I plant...How do I get started...How do I keep the weeds out...the bugs out...the squirrels...the list went on and on.

We have neighbors that are so good at gardening that they plant one every year and even grow things all around the outside of their house. Things like tomatoes of all sorts and sizes, peppers, squash, and BEANS!!! They've had beans planted along the side of their house like it was nothing to do. That baffled me. How could they be so good at something that I am so afraid that I'd be completely and utterly terrible at.

Well, for some reason, I had passion and confidence sprout within me about this garden this year like never before. I said to Phil, "I think this year is our year." LOL

Should it all go well, we'd create a wonderful cycle. We'd juice, use out pulp to compost, use our compost to fertilize our garden, use the veggies from our garden to ... you've got it ...juice! Brilliant.

Anyway, we turned the ground of our garden spot, we've pulled weeds and we'll turn the ground a couple more times before planting time (a tip we got from my father-in-law). He grows a beautiful garden every year as well.


 As for school, in Science, we made an anemometer (wind gauge) to measure the speed of the wind. We got an easy one to make from here. They measured in three different places in our neighborhood. They recorded the speeds and determined where the wind was blowing the fastest.

We attended homeschool day at the Capitol. That was fun. The best part was the home school music band that was performing. The girls LOVED it. I became very nostalgic as they played and I remembered my years playing the clarinet in my school band. The kids and I also got a chance to see the Senate Floor.  They also learned that the statue on top of the dome is not the Statue of Liberty but is Miss Freedom. We compared and contrasted the two statues.

We also took the prettiest day of the season to have school at the park. That was today and it was a lot of fun and very refreshing.

Pics from the week...

Isn't it great how pictures make everything look so peaceful and perfect...I assure you...none of this was! But it was all very fun and very worth it!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

We're Up and Juicing!

This week went by in sort of a blur. I didn't take many pictures because it wasn't a pretty sight! First, Madison gets ill after eating McDonald's!! We hadn't had fast food in what felt like ages and McDonald's, even longer than that. We wouldn't have had it that day but we were with my mom in some remote part of the world and "old faithful" was the only restaurant around. I think you will always be able to count on McDonald's to be wherever you are. LOL!

At any rate, I felt queasy after eating it and so did my mom but Madison was the one to really get ill for the next 24 hours, then Chelsea apparently picked it up from Madison because  she was the only who didn't eat the McDonald's and didn't get the initial sickness but as fate would have it, she contracted a little bit of it from her best-est friend in the whole wide world!!! Then, I contracted it from Chelsea (I will leave the details out of how that happened).

At any rate, our week was filled with bathroom visits and sleeping for all three of us back to back. My dear husband escaped the wrath!

We did manage to go the the library. We checked out books on giant Sequoia trees because the kids have been interested in them. We also checked out a book on the water cycle, because although Phillip and I have created the song, I still have to officially teach my lesson plan. But just by hearing the fun beat and catching on to the song, the kids have already learned and get the concept of the water cycle. They are going to be facinated to find out though that all of the original water of the Earth is still here! It doesn't go away! It just keeps cycling through. That is truly intelligent design by a loving creator, our Heavenly Father.

**Keep checking back for our next song, The 5 Senses**

We attended the Aesop's Fables Puppet Show at the library also.

I don't know if it was the McDonald's experience that pushed us over the edge but we started juicing this week!

Actually we'd been considering it for a while. We believe that we need the nutrients that juicing brings about. I mean, I am pretty diligent about making sure we have a veggie with lunch and dinner and apples to snack on during the day but life happens and there are times that doesn't happen despite my good intentions. We are also good about having meatless meals and salads as dinner but I know for sure that we don't get the recommended daily amount of fruits and veggies in our diet and we both believe that if we kick it up in this area, it would only be beneficial.

Plus I am eager for us to try such recipes as the Immune Builder, the Prostate Helper and the Calcium Cocktail (I was told by someone near and dear to me that upping my calcium intake could ward off mood swings during PMS) this person shall remain nameless, let's just say he'd benefit the most, should the findings about calcium be true. LOL

Here are some of our pictures from the week:

Thank you for reading and checkout my lovely link ups page for great blogs that I'm linking up with this week.


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