Cultivating Knowledge in Mommy's Garden

Following the adventures of two little girls and their mommy, as they learn and create together!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Selena's Journal

This is a scan from Selena's journal entry.  
"This is the party for my last day at school. 
See all my friends?  I'm the one in the dress."
It makes me cry... I'm not sure if they are happy or sad tears though.

Last Day at Childrens Montessori

Today was the girls last day at school.  It is such a hard feeling, wondering if you are making the right choices at the right times.  The girls are so excited to make the change over to school at home full time.  I'm ready to be home with them every day.  It's the hardest part of being a parent, "Am I doing the right thing?"
I'll admit, I cried when I picked them up, I'm crying right now.  I want to make the right choices, the best choices.  I took some pictures to help us remember the day.
 Here they are, October 26, 2009, their first day of school!
 And here they are today.  (Are they wearing the same sweaters???) 

We took cupcakes and thank you cards to the teachers. 

  The teachers made a little book too, :')

 We love Miss Debbie and Miss Marissa!  We'll miss you so much. 
 Thanks to Miss Debbie ~ The director of the school. ~picture of the field trip to the library.
 Miss Michelle is always smiling, we'll miss her too! ~This picture is of Abby at the Mobius field trip.
 Playing at Mobius on a field trip :)
 Selena's friend Lucine drew this for her.
It's been a great two years at Children's Montessori.  We were never disappointed, and had so many fun times.  Thanks to all of you there who made this experience so great. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Storytime, Happy Birthday!

The stories this week were all about BIRTHDAYS!  After stories we played with playdoh and had a fun time.
Selena can't wait till her birthday, just three more weeks till she is 5.  

Garden Markers for Planting a Rainbow

We've been so excited to start planting our garden, every since we read, "Planting a Rainbow."  After our trip to the store to get our "rainbow" seeds, we decided we needed rainbow markers to label our garden.  Today we painted and glued wooden flowers together.  We are going to use them as plant markers in the kids garden. 

 We bought the wooden flower cut-outs at the Dollar Tree (10 for a dollar) and used acrylic paints with foam brushes.

 The girls started with their favorite colors, blue for Abby and pink for Selena.

Pretty soon we had a little rainbow factory!

Now, all we need are some little plants.  We are planting our seeds on Friday, April 1st! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bittersweet Feelings

The girls have attended Children’s Montessori for the past 17 months.  It has been a great experience for them and for us.  When I enrolled them in their classes (at the time Abby was in the Little Learners class, and Selena in the Pre-School class) I wasn’t sure how long they would be there, and how I was going to like having someone else be with them for the three days a week.  I enjoyed the freedom a bit, of having an “adult” thing to do, but at the same time, it broke my heart to leave them at school when they were sad to see me go.  This last school year, they have been in the same class, and that has provided them with new experiences as well.  With Selena taking on the “Mother Hen” roll with Abby, and Abby following her.  At home, Abby was always so strong willed and independent, it was fun to see her listening to her sister.
As March draws to an end, so does our time at Children’s Montessori.  It will be an adjustment to go back to staying home full-time, but the three (four) of us are looking forward to it.    No more rushing to get dressed and showered and fed to get out the door, no more tears at the door as I leave for the day, but also no more recess with friends.  I hope that we can develop some new friendships soon, and maybe be able to continue with a few from school. 

Grandma Judy, Lowe's Build and Grow and the Weekend

This weekend we got to spend a lot of time with Grandma Judy.  Friday was another movie night at school, and this time the movie was Toy Story 3.  The girls hadn’t seen it yet, and I was worried that there may be scary parts (since I have a couple fraidy-cats).   Grandma said that all went well, and Abby sat in her lap for most of the movie.  After the movie, Grandma brought them home and had a sleepover.  Saturday, while we spent the day at the conference, the girls went with their dad to Lowe’s to do the Build and Grow Workshop.  This week they made Fortune Teller boxes.  Think magic eight ball, but with a die in a wooden box.  After the conference, Grandma Judy took the girls to her house for a sleepover at their house.  On Sunday, we all spent the day together.  Looking through all of grandmas books and teacher resources.  We came home with 100+ new books to read (after our shopping trip to Value Village the day before, where I bought 76 new books).  We are going to have LOTS of reading time coming up.  Grandma sent home more 1-10 and 1-20 dot-to-dots for the girls, which they love.  Abby even had to take hers to bed with her. 

Seminar Descriptions

Integrating Art into History, Susan Evans of
This seminar was very exciting to me.  I love all things creative and educational, so this was great.  I loved seeing the different time periods depicted in these creative ways.  Cave art, I don’t think I would have thought of building a cave and putting our cave drawings inside it!  Great idea!  I love the idea of making the topics come alive through experiences.  The ancient Egypt material was outstanding.  I’m ready to start this unit study now, just so I can do all the cool things that Susan Evans did!  I’m going to hold off with this for a few years, the girls are still too young, but I can’t wait to use these ideas.  She made a small storage space room into a tomb, and covered the walls with paper to draw hieroglyphs on the walls (practice for the kids, as well as beautiful decoration!), built a sarcophagus, had a treasure box, and so many other wonderful things!  I loved the ideas for the shadow boxes, and I remember making shadow boxes and dioramas when I was in school.  LOVE it!  I can’t wait to do it all. 

Using Journals to Teach Writing, also by Susan Evans
Selena loves to write in her journals. Loves, loves, LOVES to write in her journals.  We had to make two trips to Michaels last week for her to pick out some new books.  She draws pictures, practices her ABCs and numbers… she just loves to have her own special place to write. 
During this seminar, I learned how to be focused with journals for specific purposes, and the different types of journals that one can write.  I’m going to have us make a journal or workbook for the lessons that we are going to be starting this week.  Seeds and planting, and weather.  So I guess we’ll do it on Spring, since all of those things are spring specific.  I think another word for what I want to do is a lapbook?  I’ll have to look this up.
Oh well, back to the seminar.  It was great and inspiring.  I know that I sure enjoy writing my blogs.  I do this now instead of a written journal, and I seem to keep up better with it this way. 

Inland Northwest Homeschool Conference

This past weekend was the Inland Northwest Homeschool Conference.  It was so inspiring and informational, I don't know how I'll be able to summarize all I learned.  I'll speak generally here, and have separate entries for the different workshops that inspired me. 
The first workshop that I attended was titled, "Integrating Art into History" by Susan Evans of  I LOVED it!  I'll write more about this one later.
Next I browsed around the vendor hall and enjoyed seeing the materials that were offered.  After my window shopping, I attended the seminar, "Learning from Reading" by Richard Cary.  He wrote the book "Saving Little Fish"  It was a very informative talk and I have a long list of new authors and books to read!
After a quick trip to take the kids to grandma's for the monthly movie night at school, we returned to hear an inspiring talk by Morna Gilbert on the differences in character and achievement.  Greg and I learned so much from Morna's ideas and we hope to raise our girls with an emphasis on character traits.
At the end of the day we listened to powerful speaker Michael Farris give a talk entitled "The Coming Attack on Homeschooling From the Legal Elites."  I learned so much and took away so much more than I thought I would. 
Saturday morning, Grandma Judy went with me to attend the seminars.  We started the day bright and early at 845 with Michael Farris speaking again, this time about, "Parental Rights; It's Now or Never."  Again, Mr. Farris was inspiring with his words and message!  (This and other events of the day have inspired me to start ANOTHER blog, this one about called "Politics of a Stay at Home Mom")
After a quick walk through the vendor hall with Grandma Judy, we headed off to "Does it Matter How We Teach Math?"  Both of us thought this would be a very exciting talk, and were disappointed that it was basically a talk on how to use the AL Abacus, and their recommended method.  I was looking more towards multiple methods for teaching concepts, not just one expensive alternative to "public school methods."  ~The public school methods, aren't my words, they were the theme of the talk.
After a trip home, Barnes and Noble, and then Value Village for some book shopping (and I even found a kids pottery wheel!), we headed back for our final seminar, "Using Journals to Teach Writing." Also by Susan Evans.  More about this one later too!
It was a great weekend, I learned a lot and am ready to start my journey full speed ahead!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


This week's storytime was about different kinds of animals.  We heard stories about bunnies, a moose and a chipmunk, a cow, duck, pig, a goose and a dog, and others.  After listening to stories, the girls got to glue shapes onto paper.  Selena of course wanted all pink, and Abby wanted all blue... then they each did a second one, and did multi-colored ones too.  There were also balls to throw around and play catch with.  The girls love playing catch!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hansel and Gretel

Today we took the girls to see the Spokane Children's Theater production of Hansel and Gretel.  It was the first play that the girls have seen, and also the first time they have heard the story.  They really seemed to enjoy the acting, we got to participate and be the forest of trees that the kids get lost in.  All in all, the little actors (and big ones too) did a great job, and I think we'll have to mark our calendars for future performances.

At the beginning of the show, they invited all the kids with birthday in February, March and April to come up on stage.  So Selena got to go up, and she was excited (but also nervous, so I went with her). 
At intermission Abby got a flower painted on her cheek.
The set was beautiful and we all had a great time!

St. Patrick's Day Craft

Today (St. Patrick's Day) we made "stained glass" shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day.  The girls loved doing them, and we are going to do Easter Eggs, and probably Flags and who know what else for any other holidays.  These were super easy, fun, and turned out beautiful.

Thanks to teach mama for the idea!

Lucky Leprechauns

St. Patrick's Day!
Today while the girls were at school, and I was "at work," a mischievous little leprechaun, that we'll call Seamus, visited our house.  Seamus wrote a little note for each of the girls near the door, and then made a mess of the house!  He gathered up all of the green toys and played with them in the living room!  The girls got to go on a scavenger hunt to see what all the surprises were that Seamus left for them.  The pictures will tell the story...
 The clue to RED was, Where do you do schoolwork?

 The clue to Orange was, A Green Tea Party!
 The clue to Yellow was, Where do You Mark the Day and the Weather?
 The clue to Green was, Princesses Love Green!
 Clue to Blue was, What is Your Favorite St. Patrick's Day Book?
 The clue for Purple was, Where do you Dream Your Dreams???

 IN BED!! The girls each got a pinwheel, spring time mask, and a fun board game. 
 The table that Mommy decorated. 

Distinguished Classified Employee~Otherwise Known as Grandma Judy

St. Patrick's Day!  What a fun day.  We had a very very busy day today.  We started out with sleeping in, which sounds like a good thing, but wasn't!  Grandma Judy was honored today by the Superintendent of the school district, as well as the head of the board of directors, and a representative from the sponsoring credit union. She was awarded the Distinguished Classified Employee honor. 
 The following is taken from the District webpage~
Judy Tuggle, instructional assistant, Title I program, Lidgerwood Elementary
During the 23 years she has worked at Lidgerwood as an instructional assistant, Judy has been a tireless advocate for students. She provides small group interventions for struggling students and helps English-language learners with reading after school. She is part of several school committees and helped create the PAWS (Pride and Willing Service) student leadership group. One nominator said she is “truly a joy to work with, is always professional and has a tremendous sense of humor and a smile that makes the staff room light up with excitement.” 

Congratulations Mom!  We've known for years just how special you are, and it's nice to see that others recognize you too!!!
(Pictures to follow...)

4-H Meeting and TEC

Wednesday, March 16th
Today I had a 4-H meeting for working with the parents, leaders, and kiddos for getting their 4-H Dahlia projects underway.  I love working with the families and can't wait to see how the project works out for the fair. 
I'm also always encouraged to visit with other homeschooling families!

On another note, last week, I visited the TEC (The Enrichment Cooperative).  I would go into great detail, but I'm not interested in the program, so I wont.  I'll leave it at this...
I'm choosing to homeschool, so I can make the decisions about what and when I teach things.  I would LOVE the opportunity to use the resources of the local school districts, but I'm not going to be roped into enrolling my children into an alternative program, and lose all the freedoms that I enjoy as a homeschooling family.  I will not check in with the school district with summaries of activities once a month.  I will not have a "certified" teacher tell me what I'm lacking in my day to day work.  We will surely miss out on the cooking classes and ballet, and the Jedi Training.. but we would miss out on our freedom more. 

Story Time - Sand! and Pat Hutchins

Story time (Tuesday March 15th) was all about Author Pat Hutchins.  We read a few new stories, and one story that we have at home, "Rosie's Walk."  This is a story that Grandma Judy gave us a copy of, and the girls really like reading all about Rosie's interesting walk.
After stories, they kids got to play with sand buckets, and had a great time.  It will be so nice when the weather gets a little warmer and we can go out to the sandbox again!

St. Patrick's Day Parade and Science Olympiad

Saturday March 12
Today I volunteered at the regional Science Olympiad competition.  The task I got to judge and supervise was the, "Mission Possible" challenge, where high school kids got to design a device where you drop a coin onto a mousetrap and then do all kinds of neat things and at the end, release a balloon!  It was really neat to see all the designs and teamwork with the kids.
After SO, Greg and the girls met me at the school and we all went downtown for the St. Patrick's Day Parade.  We got there late, but still got to see some of the people marching.  We also walked around the park a bit and rode the carousel horses.
After enjoying the park, we walked over to RPS and watched the An Daire Academy of Irish Dance Dancers.  We are thinking of enrolling the girls in classes.  It is something that I always wanted to do, and they really seemed to enjoy watching it... We'll see!

Fat Tuesday, Hats, Caps, and Feathers, Oh My!

Tuesday, March 8th
For Fat Tuesday / Mardi Gras we had a yummy meal of New Orleans inspired foods.  We had Chicken Gumbo and Multi-colored pasta with crab meat. 

At dinner we talked about the significance of Fat Tuesday and the events leading up to Lent. 
After dinner we took Grandpa Don to the library for story time.  Tonight's theme was Hats and Caps!  We read "Caps for Sale," which is a very fun story, as well as looking at picture books with hats from around the world.  After stories, we made newspaper hats and decorated them.
And played with the straws...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Swim, Capitol, Geocaching, Museum

On our second day in Olympia, we got up early and had breakfast, then went swimming!  The girls LOVE swimming, and it is hard to get them out of the water.

 Geocaching at the State Capitol
Us waving at the ducks and fish in Capitol Lake.