Sunday, December 9, 2012

feeling too SLUGGISH to do laundry

the laundry will just have to wait(again).
this morning Miss A informed me that she has a new pet slug & that he has been living in a teeny little container since Tuesday. so i suggested that maybe it was time to make him a more comfortable home (instead of doing chores...of course).we did a little slug research & headed outside to get to work on his new habitat.
we both agree that he looks much happier in his new place munching on that fresh green leaf. (can you spot him?)
*our fave slug fact: they love one our fave foods...KALE!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

nest notes{seasonal favorites}

seasonally flavored teas are one of my fave things this time of year! during these cooler months we seem to have a hot mug of coziness in hand thru out the day. cozied up on the couch, knitting, snuggling, reading (esp a cup of herbal Honey Vanilla Chamomile in quiet after the girls bed time) watching a movie, etc...the brownsugars & i have tea in the afternoons sometimes with a sweet treat & maybe a little cream. if visitors stop by i love to have a hot cup of tea to offer.

last year i became obsessed with the Nutcracker Sweet tea but couldn't find it again this year. i tried the Trader Joes Vanilla & Cinnamon black tea & was super surprised that it came pretty close in flavor!

the very next day of course...i found my teas at my fave local grocery store & stocked up! {bummed i didn't realize the Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea wasn't gluten free & didn't get to try it...was so looking forward to it!}

*testing out mobile posting with the new update :)

Gold Rush at Riley's Farm

Riley's Farm. Oak Glen, Ca. 11.1.12
a few weeks ago a friend invited us on their homeschool charter's living history trip at one of our fave local places 
Riley's Farm
it was on our fall to do check list, so we packed our stuff up last minute & hit the road early in the morning!
my mama made the brownsugars costumes a few years ago when we visited the Colonial Farm Life trip
& luckily they worked again for this Gold Rush trip. 
(because really what better way to experience a living history field trip than being in costume!)
check the Riley's Farm's absolutely beautiful & they have so many many fantastic things to offer! 
our guide giving the group a history lesson & the laws of the land.
mining in the gold field.
to enter we had to make a deal with the claim owner.
our deal was to pay 30 percent of the gold found. 
the kids mostly calculated their negotiations themselves.
{these pix are out of order...oops}
searching for nuggets by hand in the sluice boxes.
afterwards the girls decided that maybe it would be better to invest some of their hard earned gold mining money on a {highly} price inflated mining pan.  

 at the bank they converted all their gold into paper money.
there was even a bank robbery!
 the miners also had the opportunity to try to earn extra money by doing other chores if they could find any.
after the claims & the bank closed for the day
we were served a miner's lunch that consisted an apple, jerky meat, cornbread, a slice of cheese & lemon aide
before the auction in the big barn
(where of course you get to spend your hard days work earned pay).
the auction was such a great educational lesson in supply & demand (as the supply of objects to bid on decreased, the bidding price on the remaining objects increased significantly).
at the end of the auction the guide discussed supply & demand in further detail as well as other valuable educational & historical info.
one of our fave tidbits was that he pointed out that the same people owned the claims, mines, the goods & supplies for purchase, the bank, the auction, pretty much everything involved
& they made a fortune off (US) the desperate miners!
i'm not giving it all away,
but fall at Riley's Farm is a beautiful time of year to visit (as any actually)...check out the Riley's Farm link to see why!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

visiting our local pumpkin patch

a few weeks ago i surprised my brownsugars with a last minute field trip.
we started a pumpkin unit, needed to add some fall to our house (even though as you can see it was still hot!) &needed new seeds to add to my garden pumpkin patch that dried up in the hot weather.
we needed pumpkins! i couldn't think of any better place to get them than to pick them from the vine at our local pumpkin patch ourselves.

ps playing blog post catch up since blogger was not letting me upload pix & with the new mobile app update its still a little wacky! grrr!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Elfin Forest Hike...kicking off our hiking season


elfin forest unit

acorn naturalist

plant identification cards from the kit
crossing Escondido Creek

yesterday kicked off hiking season for us (we are wimps in the summer heat).
even though we are currently experiencing the warm dry October Santa Ana wind weather, our weather starts to cool off soon after.
we've been here about 6 years & this was our 1st time hiking the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve & the brownsugars & i had such a great time doing it with our homeschool co-op group.
i purchased a unit study specifically for the Elfin Forest from one of my fave resources, Acorn Naturalist & brought it with. along with the parents guides, it was a very handy resource. i'm loving that the kit is reusable because aside from hiking the Elfin Forest again, our area is filled with similar local chaparral & we can easily reuse the kit to expand on the hike & finish some of the activities we didn't get to.
the hike was fun & very informative, the kids were super excited about spotting a coyote down by the creek BUT the preserves amazing Interpretive Center was by far the highlight! we could have spent hours!

it was beautifully done inside & out. the displays caught & kept everyone's attention. there were so so many FANTASTIC hands on activities but i will just mention a few (A MUST SEE).
the microscope with camera & TV screen set up was def a fave. we were able to collect & view samples of the Escondido Creek water we crossed on our hike & discover some of specimens that were present in it such as fresh water flatworm planaria, algae, mayfly larvae & more. there were also other samples prepared for viewing.
the center provided owl pellets to dissect, tons of real-life or realistic habitat specimen samples were on displayed which helped identify what we saw & what we missed, beautiful art work, fantastic docents...a very rich real life educational environment for all ages.
way too much to see & do...we cannot wait to go back!

Friday, October 12, 2012

nest notes {perfect cheeseburger soup *pseudo socal fall* weather}


i haven't been in much of a blogging mood lately. BUT yes, we've been busy quietly doing stuff & living life.

this week we've been having what i call "pseudo" socal fall weather in that it has been chilly hoodie, hot tea & snuggly blanket weather. complete with perfectly chilly mornings & nights & actual thunderstorms. combine it all with football & me having my 1st pumpkin spice latte of my fave season...
i'm in fall-loving-happy-girl heaven!

i have been anxiously awaiting the perfect weather to make this Cheeseburger Soup & last night was it!
i made a few changes such as:
substituting ground turkey instead of ground beef & i browned it with the veggies.
i used real cheddar instead of Velveeta.
i added other seasonings to taste(onion powder, celery salt, etc...)
i would have also substituted plain yogurt for the sour cream but 
i had neither sour cream nor plain yogurt & it was still delish.
i would also add broccoli next time.

my fam LOVED LOVED LOVED this soup!
i was a huge HIT & even better today for lunch!!!

*i decided the *farm notes* thing wasn't working for me & that *nest notes* fits me better. i think it gives me more room for a wider range of topics & inspiration.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

she had a fab 1st day[8th grade homeschool co-op]

{ok so 8th grade means i only took minimal non-embarassing pix. i only stuck around for the brief 10-15 minute teacher/class introduction. then i left my girl to her business for the day. i did good!)  

i keep mentioning that we have a lot of changes in our little homeschool this year. yesterday was the beginning of one of them. the oldest brownsugar K started 8th grade homeschool co-op! my girl had a fab 1st day, but 8th grade...kinda makes me sad!
without going into alot of details all 3 girls are now under the same charter (much easier on me)& are starting a new co-op this year organized (for the most part) by one of our fave teachers from our old charter.
this co-op is different than one we were in last year in that it is more classroom like & taught by teachers who teach/taught as a profession. our other co-op was so much fun last year & we still love it & hope to still be a part of it this year but this new co-op is more of what we needed at this age. last year K was in workshop classes at her old charter campus & this year lots of her friends, others from our homeschooling network & her old teachers are in her co-op classes again, so it's a pretty comfortable transition.
the classes K is signed up for are:
General Science (Apologia text & lots of hands on labs)
aside from playing soccer & her guitar, K is really into her photography. at this point, she really wants to do something along the lines of graphics design with an emphasis on photography as a career, so we are super excited about this opportunity for her.
the Spanish class is on a different day...our beloved beach day of course! our beach is day is super sacred to us so i'm still having trouble committing (have to by today YIKES!). living in So Cal especially, Spanish is a definite must & the girls REALLY want to learn it (& i really want to re-learn it).
i'm just really going to miss my beach days!
the science & writing classes are a HUGE relief to me.
even though i love science, having 3 different ability levels were starting to become more obvious at these ages. with the majority of our little classroom still in the elementary years, starting last year it was becoming clear that Ms. 8th grader was ready for more & more of a challenge.
the same thing with the writing & lit classes. 
with those subjects being taught i'm really only teaching (more on each of these later):
History (collectively)
Math (individually) 
a little bit of Grammar (individually for K & collectively for the younger 2 but at their own levels)
*this year is a crazy busy one, the girls also have extracurricular activities that i will also save for another post.
the two younger brownsugars have their 1st day of co-op next week & we all can not wait to see how it goes.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

this {past} week

{a few little tidbits from last week...that were supposed to post on Saturday}
one of our fave days of the week is our coffee shop date. the brownsugars & i usually bring schoolwork or reading books to our local coffee shop, but this week we brought our art supplies.
we all really enjoyed it & trying yummy new drinks!
we did some fun science experiments using a new weather kit to finish up the weather unit we began at the end of last year. we started recording our weekly temps at set hours that we will graph. we also did a barometer experiment & an evaporation chamber experiment. we still have a few more experiments left. 
K has gotten REALLY good on her guitar. she is super passionate & equally as self motivated about her guitar playing. i LOVE LOVE LOVE listening to this girl practice & play. i'm also loving watching her artistic growth (all around) & the fact that she has enough time to pursue & develop them.
beach day is, of course our other favorite day of the week! we took beach study & our bible study books along for some beach schooling & family worship before going in the water. it was a perfect day for it. it was hot! after we finished with the books & our picnic, we hit the water for the rest of the evening. 
(yes! i actually had on a swimming suit!)
this past week was definitely an "i'm sooo happy to be homeschooling" week. i'm loving the blessing of being able to watch my brownsugars grow into themselves right before my eyes & being able to be here to facilitate if necessary. there are so many things, subtleties even, that i would have never know about each one of these girls if we were not homeschooling
& none of which i want to miss.