More Monarchs!

We are a monarch loving family. Last year I planted a butterfly garden in my yard in hopes that I would attract monarchs. I was beginning to loose hope because I have not seen any this year. We have lots of other butterflies visiting but no monarchs-until yesterday! I pulled into my driveway and noticed something orange fluttering around. I went out to the garden and found monarchs bustling around the plants! What a nice surprise for us all!


Welcome Bella

Last year was a rough year at our house for pets.  We had three pets pass away-our turtle, our bird, and one of our cats.  So far, 2018 is going much better!  We welcomed a new pet to our family last week.  Bella is a blue heeler/border collie mix (we think).  Right now she is about nine weeks old.  We are having a blast-and sleep deprived!

Winter Spiral-2017

I really do wish that I could slow down the time.  I do not feel rushed, but the time seems to slip past very quickly.  I am not even sure where the time went between our November celebrations to now-our winter spiral.  The time came for us to host our spiral on Wednesday.

The air was cold.  The wind was gusty.  We had to make some last minute changes to the plan, but in the end-the lights shined beautifully.

We all sat around the fire as I read the story of the lantern prince.  Then, one by one, everyone walked the spiral to light a candle.

We ended the night indoors making cards for those who will receive the boxes of goodies that we made.

Winter Spiral-2016


We celebrated our Winter Spiral this week.  It was a bittersweet night.  The spiral and the “ceremony” blew me over with its beauty.  The fact that my kids are growing up smacked me in the face and knocked me over.  This may be our last spiral as my kids were not interested in it at all.  I, personally, love the spiral, the community gathering, and the activities.  However, my kids feel that they have outgrown it-although, they have a good time once it starts.

The night was COLD!  We had to put out blankets as we read the story and lit the spiral and light a nice fire in the fire pit for the activity (thankfully, the open fire ban in our county was lifted last week!).

We read the story, “The Lantern Prince,” from Sparkle Stories again this year.   They advertise it as a Martinmas story, but I feel that it fits perfectly with lighting the spiral.

After the spiral, we went to fill bags for a local charity with personal items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, lip balm, etc.

The night ended with the parents hanging out by the fire trying desperately to stay warm while the kids ran around in the darkness of the night.


And the winter begins!

Wacky Wednesday- Congaree National Park


We have visited quite a few mountainous areas, so this trip headed south to Congaree National Park.  We began the trip with a short tour led by Park Ranger who gave us some of the history of the park.

We then headed off on a short hike through the Pine bluff and into the flood plain.  Unfortunately, we could not hike many of the trails due to damage from Hurricane Matthew.  We did manage to see some amazingly old and large loblolly pine trees and oak trees along the way.  Hurricane Matthew also brought out quite a few mosquitoes that followed us along the trails!

After our hike and a quick bite to eat, we headed into the nature center where the kids worked on the Junior Ranger program.  We also watched the short, but highly informative, movie on the history of the area.



Since a lot of the trails were closed, we never saw a cypress tree on our hike.  Thus, we had to jump in the car and drive a little way down to the canoe drop in to find some of the old bald cypress trees.  They were beautiful!  We are going to try to make it back down in the spring to do a kayak trip.



Block Two- 2016/2017

We have come to the end of our second block!  I am still amazed at how well the school year is going (notice that I say “school” year.  we are working through some crazy emotional roller coaster things but the school part is going really well).  Our second block included Norse myths, Ancient Greece review, and Renaissance review.

Grade 4- Norse Myths

We started off the block looking at the Vikings and where the myths originated.  We then picked out a few of the stories to focus on this block.  I love how the older two sat just as intently during the stories as Parks did even though they have already heard them numerous times.  That is the beauty of myths!

Grade 6- Review of Ancient Civilizations and Ancient Greece

Sawyer and I worked on a timeline viewing how the ancient civilizations overlapped throughout the world.  Then she focused on Ancient Greece and the story of the Trojan Horse.  We mainly used the Oak Meadow Ancient Civilizations book and various internet sites throughout this block.  One site that we used, I highly recommend checking out!  It is called World History Timeline Maps.


Grade 8- Renaissance and Reformation Review

Last year, Sims had very little interest in the time period after the Middle Ages.  I thought that I really needed to tie in some of the big ideas from the Renaissance and Reformation eras in order to move on into the modern times.  Together, we looked at the World History Timeline Maps and did A LOT of discussion about how the areas changed.  We went over exploration, art, architecture, religion, symbols and scandals.  This block tied in nicely with Sawyer’s since a lot of the Renaissance was based on the ancient civilizations.  We watched the movie, “The Da Vinci Code.”  We used the Oak Meadow Ancient Civilizations book and several other books that we had on the bookshelf.  I am glad that I decided to go back over this time period.  He seemed much more interested this year.  He researched on the internet and started making connections to historical events.