Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Month day 31 - Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Our Halloween:
Dea did her own make-up this year. It was inspired by the Dia de los Muertos sugar skulls:

Jay is zombie Al Capone:

The kids actually went trick-or-treating, which we almost never do.

We ate:
Zombie Flesh (turkey breast)
Demon Eyes (red peppers with fresh Mozzarella balls)
Broiled Mummy Fingers (Little Smokies with bacon & shitake mushrooms)

We played:
Arkham Horror - We actually won! We defeated Nyarlathotep, so the world is once again safe. You are welcome world.

Halloween Reads:
Things That Go Bump in the Night
Weird! The Complete Book of Halloween Words
The Perfectly Horrible Halloween 

Today's Movies:
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Halloween Video:
For today's video, I was going to post The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. However, it would not allow that. So, here's another make-up tutorial for the final Halloween video post this year....

I will be doing 14 days of Thanksgiving posts next month. Hopefully, they will be slightly better than these Halloween ones have been. These were a last minute decision & were thrown together quickly. The Thanksgiving ones are planned & I've been working on gathering stuff for them for over a week now.

I hope you have all had a wonderful Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Month day 30

Halloween Fun:
Today, I thought I'd share some pics from some fun things we've done in the past for Halloween.
Halloween Bingo:

Pumpkin Bowling:
Sometimes, we paint the bottles with glow in the dark paint & bowl at night.

Target Practice:
It's always fun to practice knife throwing

Pumpkin Massacre:
We just can't resist destroying the pumpkins when we're all done.

Glowing Punch:
 Just added some glow sticks & a few flashing skulls

Demon Eyes:

Haunted House:
Similar to a gingerbread house, except for Halloween & made from sugar cookie dough


Scare the Neighbors (and passing cars):

Halloween Reads:
Some more for the little ones:

Today's Movie:

Halloween Video:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Month day 27

Halloween Recipes:
Meat Hand
Jack-o-Lantern Oranges
Specimen Jars

Halloween Reads:

Today's Movies:
Shaun of the Dead
Halloween (need to wash away the awfulness of the remake I watched yesterday. I only watched the remake yesterday because Dea had never seen it. I have never enjoyed it.)

Today's Video:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halloween Month day 26

My niece is in a Harry Potter book club, and they are holding a Halloween party. She is spending the night tonight & using my kitchen to make the treat she's taking to the party. So, my kitchen has been overtaken by sugar mice:

and some other sugar animals (these were just for fun):

I tried out a recipe for Butterbeer. Homemade caramel sauce & club soda, with a shot of Honey Brandy for the adults. It was quite good.

We're snacking on Demon Eyes while watching a movie. These are peppers (not sure what kind) that we got from the Olive Bar at the grocery store. We stuffed them with fresh Mozzarella balls. The peppers are both hot & sweet at the same time. They taste really good.

Halloween Reads:
The Complete Works of H. P. Lovecraft

Today's Movies:
Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire

Today's Video:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Halloween Month day 24

Sorry, I got distracted looking for a video & forgot that I still hadn't finished the rest of the post. I've got it fixed now, though.

Here's some more of what we've done for Halloween this year:

Gourmet caramel apples, homemade caramel, toasted coconut, and crushed Oreos.

2 pints of homemade caramel sauce.

Jay's Jack-o-Lantern when lit.

What's Halloween without some decorations?

Halloween Reads:
Today, we have some more for the little ones
Spooky Hour
The Perfectly Horrible Halloween
Teacher's Night Before Halloween

Today's Movies:
Little Monsters
A Nightmare on Elm Street

Today's Video:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Newest Project

My most recent project has been turning the 3-season porch, which was the arts & crafts room, into my office. Today, I finished it. Well, mostly. I do still have a file cabinet that needs to be moved in, but other then that it is done.

This is what it looked like before:

 It was a huge mess because the kids are slobs.
 Most of this stuff got moved to the room now named the AM room, because it's for art & music.
The walls were a boring off-cream. The trim was mostly a baby diarrhea brown, except the parts that were an ugly, yellowed mauve. Obviously, the people who used to live here had no taste.

This is what it looks like now:

The walls are a vibrant Pumpkin Patch & the trim is Aztec Gold.
That window you see there looks into the living room. So, I decided to put it to good use....
 The bottom pane has a calendar on it, so I can keep track of everything.
The top panes I am using to keep track of all the books I plan to read each month. The two panes that are mostly full are my books for Oct. The pane with only a few is the start of the list for Nov.

Yes, there is a skeleton sitting in a chair in my office. Her name is Darcy.

Halloween Month day 23

Halloween Fun:
Halloween Wreath
Apothecary Jars
DIY Tombstones

Halloween Recipes:
Vampire Cocktail
Coconut Cocoa
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Zombie Banana French Toast

Halloween Reads:
How to Trap a Zombie, Track a Vampire, and Other Hands-On Activities for Monster Hunters
October Country

Today's Movies:
Night of the Living Dead
Little Monsters

Halloween Video:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Halloween Month day 20

Halloween Fun:
Ghoulish Traffic Signs
Apothecary Bottles
Decaying Skulls

Halloween Recipes:
Jell-o Worms
Halloween Cocktails
Blood Clot Biscuits

Halloween Reads:
Interview With the Vampire
American Psycho

Today's Movie:

Today's Video:

Dinosaurs 4th Grade

Dinosaurs for Kids
Prehistoric World
Dinosaur Eggs
Dinosaur Facts
Curse of T-Rex
Dinosaurs for Kids
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Scholastic Dino Activities
Discovery Dinosaur Central
Dino Dictionary
The Dinosauria
Animal Planet Dinosaurs
Discover the Dinosaurs
Dino Games
Funschool Dinos
Dino Games

Dinosaur Discovery
How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum
The World of Dinosaurs
World of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Life
Bone Wars: The Excavation of Andrew Carnegie's Dinosaur
Dinosaur Parents, Dinosaur Young
Amazing Dinosaurs
A T. Rex Named Sue
Digging for Bird-Dinosaurs
Bones Rock!
Tyrannosaurus Sue
Bringing Dinosaur Bones to Life
Dinosaur Scientist
Dating Dinosaurs & Other Old Things
How to Build a Dinosaur
The Discovery & Mystery of a Dinosaur Named Jane
A Dinosaur Named Sue
Giant Sea Reptiles of the Dinosaur Age
The Dinosaur Atlas
Bill Nye the Science Guy's Great Big Dinosaur Dig
The Maiasaura Nests
Dinosaur Mountain
How Does a Bone Become a Fossil?

There were some other books on our list that we just didn't get to, yet. He will be reading them on his own time.
Grave Secrets of Dinosaurs
Unearthing the Dragon
Terrible Lizard
The Gilded Dinosaur
Eggs, Nests, and Baby Dinosaurs
Dinosaur Impressions
The Complete Dinosaur
The Great Dinosaur Extinction Controversy 

Dinosaur Secrets Revealed
Tracking Africa's Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs Alive!: IMAX
Clash of the Dinosaurs
American Experience: Dinosaur Wars
Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia: IMAX
Dinosaur Giants: Found!
Ultimate Dinosaur Collection
Walking With Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs: Lifestyles of the Big & Carnivorous: Standard Deviants
Discovery Classics: Dinosaur Pack
Dinosaurs: Inside & Out
Chased by Dinosaurs
Walking with Monsters
National Geographic: Dinosaur Hunters
The Four-Winged Dinosaur
Dinosaurs Decoded
National Geographic: Dinosaurs Unearthed
Arctic Dinosaurs: NOVA
Walking with Beasts
National Geographic: Sky Monsters
Discover: Prehistoric Planet

Excavation Kit - T-Rex
Design Dinosaur Theme Park - like Jurassic Park, but without all the death
Create Dinosaur Timeline
Create Fact Cards for Dinosaurs
Presentation on job of Paleontologist

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Halloween Month day 19

I haven't really posted much of what we've done this month, so thought I'd include some of that in today's post.

Apple Balls:

These are very simple. We simply chopped an apple, put some apple pieces on flattened biscuit dough (we used store bought here, for speed & ease), add a sprinkling of cinnamon & nutmeg. In a few of them, we also added a little Gjetost cheese (this is a seriously delicious Norwegian cheese, it has a slightly sweet taste & beautiful caramel color). We pinched the biscuits closed & baked them. They were delicious.


 This pained one was done by Dea & her best friend. It was out in the rain a little before the picture was taken.
                                             Jay carved this one all by himself.

Today's movie:
Sweeney Todd
To go with the movie, we made meat pies
and bloody popcorn

Halloween Reads:
from Jay: Case File 13 Zombie Kid
from Dea: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: The Graphic Novel
from me: It

Today's video:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Halloween Month day 18

Halloween Fun:
Halloween Riddle/Pun Crossword (online)
Halloween printables
Printable Halloween Word Search
Halloween Word Search (online)
We like to print off copies of word puzzles & race to see who finishes first, with the winner being awarded prizes (candy, fangs, gooey eyeballs, Halloween pencils, fake blood, etc.). Even my teenager still enjoys doing this.

Halloween Reads:
From Me: The Harry Potter series
From Dea: The Halloween Party
From Jay: The Complete Tales & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

Today's Movies:
The Monster Squad
Dark Shadows

Halloween Video:
Today's video is a fun Halloween song for all ages

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween Month day 15

Halloween Fun:
Online games for kids
Pumpkin Bundt Cake Recipe

Halloween Reads:
The Dark-Thirty
Salem's Lot

Today's Movie:

Today's Video:

Still Here, Still Homeschooling

I haven't really posted much lately about our homeschooling. We are still working away. Jay is finishing up his study of Dinosaurs today. He finished LOF Pre-Algebra 1 w/Biology and is now working in LOF Pre-Algebra 2 w/Economics. For History, we've been studying the Salem Witch Trials. Dea has been continuing to work, as well. Really, we just haven't had much of interest happen here lately, so I haven't posted.

I've been working on turning our 3-season porch, which has been our Arts & Crafts room, into my office. I want a room where I can lock myself in, away from everyone, and have time to work, plan, read, write, think, meditate, journal, whatever. It will be a place just for me. I haven't actually had that for more than a decade & a half. I miss having a space that is mine. So, I've been painting. Once I'm done painting, we are ripping up the carpet, & I'll do the floor. Then, I just have to move my stuff in. It should only be a few more weeks until it is done.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Halloween Month day 13

Halloween Recipes:
Green Grog
Black Halloween Punch

Halloween Fun:
Halloween Countdown Calendar
Kitty Pumpkins

Halloween Reads:
World War Z
All Hallow's Eve: 13 Stories

Today's Movie:
Hellraiser 2 (My husband isn't a big horror fan, but he does like the Hellraiser series, so my movie options are limited if he is watching with me.)

Halloween Video:
More music

Halloween Month day 12

Halloween Fun:
Easy, kid-friendly crafts
Bloody hand print window cling
Glowing Eyes

Halloween Recipes:
Broken Glass Cupcakes

Halloween Reads:

Today's Movie:

Halloween Video:
For today's video, I thought we'd go with another song.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Halloween Month day 9

Halloween Fun:
Child-friendly crafts
Oreo Caramel Apple

Halloween Reads:
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Today's Movie:
The Mist

Halloween video:
I thought I'd go with another makeup tutorial. This one is for vampire makeup. There were many vampire makeup tutorials to choose from. I like that this one is more minimalist than most & all the makeup is regular makeup, not goopy Halloween white-out colored cream makeup.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Halloween Month day 8

Halloween Fun:
Pumpkin Paintings - This is a post of mine from last year. It is the multi-media pumpkin paintings we did last autumn.
Halloween games

Halloween Reads:
Today's suggestion comes from my son
A Terrifying Taste of Short & Shivery

Today's Movie:
Night of the Living Dead

Halloween Recipe:
Bloody Popcorn Brains

Halloween Video:
For today's video, I thought I'd share a Halloween makeup tutorial I found.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Halloween Month day 7

Halloween Recipe:
Butternut squash soup - maybe not Halloween specific, but great for the season
Butterbeer - how about a few recipes for Butterbeer for the Harry Potter fans to try out

Halloween Fun:
Harry Potter Games
Harry Potter crafts

Today's Movies:
The Lost Boys

Halloween Reads:
The Tell-Tale Heart

Today's Video:
Let's do one more Type O Negative song

Halloween Month day 6

Halloween Recipe:
Pumpkin Pie

Halloween Fun:
Bat Craft
Cat Bowling Game

Today's Movie:
The Hamiltons

Halloween Read:
Something Wicked This Way Comes

Today's Video:
Let's have some more music. It's another from Type O Negative (their music is great for Halloween). Today's is a cover of Black Sabbath.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Halloween Month day 5

Halloween Recipe:
Pumpkin Seeds

Today's Movies:
The Howling

Halloween Fun:
How about some more pumpkin stencils
and some Halloween decorating

Halloween Reads:
From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury

Halloween Video:
For today's video let's have a little music. Here's a little Type O Negative from YouTube:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Confession: I don't read to my kids

I HATE reading to people. I know, I know. Shocking! A homeschool mom who doesn't read to her kids?! Yes, a few of us do exist.

This is not a new confession for me. I have admitted it many times before. Here it is again: I don't read to my kids! (This is where most people, especially homeschoolers, gasp, covering their open mouths with both hands, and slowly shake their heads). This confession gets all kinds of fun, condescending comments. I think one of my favorites is, "Well, I read to my kids because I want them to grow up to be readers." Every time I hear or read that comment (or any variation of it), I kind of want to punch the person in the throat.

Do you really think that I don't want my kids to be readers? What kind of parent do you think I am? Of course I want my kids to be readers. Here's the thing, though: they are readers. My kids are already readers.

I read to them as babies, when I could. My son hated being read to. As soon as he was able to, he'd rip the book out of my hand & throw it across the room (prior to that, he would often scream until I put the book down). When he learned to crawl, he'd leave the room. When I could get either of them to stay in the room while I read, they paid no attention & were busy with anything else they could find.

Pretty much, once they could read on their own, I stopped reading to them. Every few years I would try again, because our read-alouds for holidays would go really well. Every time, the same thing would happen. They fight. They aren't comfortable & have to move every 30 seconds. They talk through the whole book. They play, yell, bounce around the room, and drive me nuts. Their disinterest combined with my hatred of reading aloud means that read-alouds are not something we do here.

Why do I hate reading aloud? Part of it is probably that I hate being the center attention (something many people find difficult to believe considering I was in several school performances, spent years in Show Choir, and entered the school Talent Show multiple times). Mostly, it is that reading aloud means I have to slow down. I read fast. I talk fast. In high school, I had to do a 3 minute oral report. I planned for 5 minutes & finished in 1.5 minutes. When reading aloud to someone, you can't go at that speed. I have to slow down so much to read aloud, that it becomes completely unenjoyable for me.

Most importantly, I don't feel bad that I don't read to them or that I didn't read to them daily when they were younger. I know that a lot of people talk about how important it is to read to your kids. There are people who firmly believe that you can't possibly raise readers if you don't read to them daily, even after they can read on their own. Well, guess what? That is complete bullshit.

Studies (sorry, I don't feel like looking some up to give links) have shown that it is just as important, if not more so, that kids have access to plenty of reading materials & role models who read. In other words, if your kids see you read for fun & have access to plenty of things to read, they will read.

Far more important to me, than any study, is my experience. I remember my dad reading exactly 1 book to me as a kid. It was Pinocchio. He didn't finish it. When I read it to my kids, I read that exact same copy, and it still had the bookmark where he left off. I don't recall my parents ever reading anything else to me. I'm sure they read to me as a baby & probably as a toddler. I'm just as certain that they stopped reading to me once I could read for myself (at the latest). Did this cause me to be a struggling reader? No. If asked, my parents & any teacher who dealt with me would describe me as an early reader, a strong reader, a fast reader, and a voracious reader. Nobody would describe me as having any problems in the reading department. I was reading at a post-high school level in elementary school. I devour books & have since I was very young. Obviously, my parents' lack of reading aloud to me didn't hurt my reading skills or enjoyment. To be honest, I don't even remember seeing my parents read all that often. We had books, though, and I had libraries. Having access to reading materials is all it took for me to be a great reader.

As I have already said, we don't do daily read-alouds. My kids have always had access to reading materials. We have tons of magazines & thousands of books. They each have their own bookshelves/bookcase & their own books. They have each gotten a book for Christmas & birthdays every year of their lives. They also have parents who both read. They see us both reading, all the time. We take weekly trips to the library, where they are allowed to check out as many books as they think they can read. Our librarians know us by name. They have told us that they need more families like ours. We come in every week & return dozens of books. We leave with at least three bags of books. At least two of us have actually hit the limit of books we are allowed to have checked out at one time. Like me, a lack of daily read-alouds hasn't caused any problems with their reading. My daughter was reading fluently by the time she started Kindergarten. My son taught himself to read before age 5. Both kids read for hours every day.

I'm not saying it is not good to read to your kids. I'm not saying that reading to your kids won't help them become strong, life-long readers. What I am saying is that reading to your kids daily is not the only way to get strong, life-long readers. Access to reading materials & role models who read are just as, if not more, important. So, if you, like me, don't read to your kids every day until their 18th birthday, don't worry. Not only are you not alone, but you likely aren't preventing them from becoming great readers. (I say likely because I don't know everything about you & you may be doing something else that is preventing them from becoming great readers) As for those of you respond with horrified looks & gasps when someone tells you that they don't read to their kids, get off your high horse. People don't like condescending pricks who assume that the way they do things is the only or best way for everyone to do things.    

Halloween Month day 2

Halloween recipe:
I haven't tried this, but it looks pretty good. Candy Corn Pudding Pops

Halloween Fun:
Pumpkin Carving Patterns
More Pumpkin Carving Patterns
Even More Pumpkin Carving Patterns

Halloween Games

Halloween Reading:
Today's favorite Halloween read comes from Dea: The Halloween Tree

Today's Movies:
The People Under the Stairs - this was for the kids
House on Haunted Hill - this is for me (Not sure yet if it will be the original or the remake. I enjoy them both.)

Halloween video:
I found this one on YouTube today:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Halloween Month day 1

Halloween is my favorite holiday. We celebrate it all month long, with movies, food, books, & games. I thought I'd share our celebration with you by posting something Halloween related every day in October.

Today's movies:
Halloweentown High - This is the third in the series. Jay chose this one to watch today, as it is his favorite from the series.
Return of the Living Dead 3 - This on was for Dea & me. Yes, I know it's a bit cheesy, but I remember I enjoyed it when I was 13, so decided to watch it again.

Halloween Fun:
Halloween by the Numbers
Hidden Spirits game

Halloween video:

I found this video on making dry ice cream on YouTube. I haven't tried this yet, but it is an interesting idea.

Halloween reading:
Today's favorite Halloween read comes from Jay: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

October Reading

My planned reading for October is:

For Dea's English: The Good Earth

For Jay's Required Reading: The True Meaning of Smekday, The Alchemyst

With the kids: continuing the Harry Potter series, got 3 done in Sept., will aim for at least 2 more in Oct.

For my book clubs: Boneshaker, the other book clubs have not yet chosen the books for October

Just because: finish the Mercy Thompson series (I got through the first 5 books in Sept., will finish last 2 in Oct.), the Locke & Key series, Runaways: Pride & Joy, Fray, Heart-Shaped Box,  and whatever else I have time for