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Saturday, January 17, 2015

"Life is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing":Getting to Know Helen Keller

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- 
they must be felt with the heart."- Helen Keller
This quote sums up how I feel when I have meaningful teaching moments with my children.  Trust me- not every moment is like this.  Like I told my son today when he was asking me about Lucky Charms: "It can't all be marshmallows."  Life isn't all marshmallows either.  But there are enough "marshmallow" in there to make life sweet.  And that's how I felt as I watched my kids finish up their unit on Helen Keller.  My pictures try to capture these incredible moments, but really these beautiful, precious events cannot really be seen...they are felt.  

 It's the feeling I got when their eyes lit up as they punched their own names out in "braille."  It's the feeling I got when my daughter, completely on her own, decided to spell the name "Helen" too- what a sweet way to remember that great hero!  And it's the feeling I enjoyed when my daughter showed me some sign language and said "You and I are this...best friends."  

It's that proud-mama feeling when I see them diving into a project, EXCITED to learn and create.  This zest for life is the epitome of who Helen Keller was and continues as her legacy.  I expect my little ones are like her, a bit "too active" at times for society.  They can be rascals!  But, like her, they also enjoy this world in free-spirited ways, ways I am still trying to learn.
I am so blessed I have every day to do that- to learn with them.  

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."-Helen Keller
"We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world."-Helen Keller
"I am only one; but still I am one.  I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.  I will not refuse to do something I can do." -Helen Keller  
Both an exquisite student and teacher, it's no wonder she said things that speak to the heart of this homeschooling mommy! 

I hope my children and I remember that there are NO LIMITS beyond OUR OWN MIND.  With a good teacher, friend, and faith we can do ANYTHING and become our BEST selves.  I saw that in the many fascinating accomplishments of my own "handicapped" father.  I've learned of it from the amazing life of Helen Keller.  And I see it every day through the milestones of my own busy special needs children.  "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Anyone enjoying their young children is definitely in the middle of a daring adventure.  So don't just see it or touch it, FEEL these moments with your heart.
Love, Eva

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Life Is Pure Adventure"

It's been a while!  Time flies and the sweethearts are growing along with it.  I am simultaneously hurrying from one adventure with them to another while also trying to slow down and breathe in each precious moment with them.  I can relate to the spinning feeling of the homemade tornadoes!
I noticed the following quote on my calender.  It's been there all month but I finally saw it and  absorbed it today:
"Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art."
-Maya Angelou
That sums up quite nicely why I can't help but get out the camera each day, even as we do things that probably seem so simple to others.  I don't see homeschooling as mundane or boring.  I see each learning moment, each frame with my kids as art.  Teaching them gives me scenes full of wonder as I look at the world through their eyes...with amazement...and excitement.  The world has magic and adventure.

I see them and their expressions and I am reminded of how I want to see the world, new and amazing...

 Here are some pictures from today's adventures.  The pictures may look redundant to some but I see the sparkle and joy changing in their faces like a ripple from second to second as they watch their own glitter-filled tornadoes spin...

  There are still moments as a woman where I wish I was doing "more."  I have songs not  yet sung and books not yet written.  And maybe some distant day it will be the right season for those adventures. Too often I realize it's been one day too may since I showered and I still haven't gone in and had my hair trimmed like I planned or cleaned my house like I planned...but I have done so many better things that I couldn't have planned.  Because you can't plan a perfect, precious moment with a child.  You just have to be there, present, to catch it.
  Right now, in these crisp afternoons of wind blown leaves and resilient sun, I choose to dedicate myself to the most captivating audience I could ask for- my children.  Because THEY. CAPTIVATE. ME.  I never regret a moment spent trying to open the world to my children.  I give them all I have and I do so willingly and genuinely, because it's what they deserve.  It makes life more vivid  and real for all of us.  It expands the capacity we have to enjoy this incredible life.

In finding the quote I did today I was led to another:

"The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious.  The desire to reach hearts is wise."
-Maya Angelou

I believe that by trying to reach my children's hearts we will reach the stars together.
Love, Eva

Friday, July 25, 2014

Putting More "Pioneer" in Your Pioneer Day Weekend

We decided to keep things simple for Pioneer Day this year, doing some activities at home that would take us back in time.  I picked up some great sling shots at scout camp, so the kids played with these for hours!    
 I know my Grandfather used a sling shot to get squirrels growing up.  My kids couldn't hit a squirrel yet, but they are getting pretty good!  We just set up plastic bottles for them to knock over and hung some pizza tins to aim at.  
They loved seeing the bottles get knocked over and the marks their pebbles made in the tin. 
There are more pictures of this on my personal FB page...
For breakfast we made "Pioneer Pancakes" or Johnny Cakes, from a recipe I found online.  I love doing math while cooking.  It's so much more fun to do fractions when you get to eat the things you are measuring!  I picked up a manual hand held mixer at an antique shop on 25th last week, so that was fun for the kids to use too.  

Sophia measured out the Johnny Cakes and we made some hard-boiled eggs to go with breakfast too.  

The kids wanted to draw in the flour, so I said "Sure, but let's do some spelling words first."
After that Michael made a self-portrait of me and a snake drawing! 
 It's so great to let them get their hands dirty and use their own creativity!
 After we enjoyed the Johnny Cakes we worked on making Corn Husk Dolls.  I found some simple instructions online and we went to town!

 I was really surprised how much the kids were able to do on their own.
 Michael made his a boy by cutting the skirt in half and then tying it into two separate legs. 
Sophia personalized hers by adding "hair."  I was really surprised how much they BOTH enjoyed doing this old-fashioned craft.  We will definitely be making more of these dolls- maybe even a whole family!
 We did some more pioneer cooking with the corn we got the husks from, and made some simple cobbler too.  I plan on doing this all outdoors next time, but we baby-step here so it was nice to experiment inside before we hit the dutch ovens and camp fires.

To top it all off we took a trip to Apple Junction in Willard to get some more old-fashioned treats.  I didn't take a picture of the lemon drops we bought, but we saw way more here than I wanted to take pictures of since there were a lot of people around.  There are old-fashioned lanterns and hats here, as well as all sorts of jams and jellies to enjoy!  I highly recommend going!
 We enjoyed some ice cream with Grandma!
For bedtime we read stories about the pioneers and watched some video clips showing pioneer life.  Sophia is convinced she wants to live on a farm now.  I have to agree that the idea is sounding more and more appealing to me too.  I hope these ideas will help motivate you to put a little more Pioneer in your Pioneer Day Weekend!  We had so much fun even though we mostly stayed home and didn't attend any of the big community events.  
One other outing I know we will make time for this weekend is something we did Memorial Day weekend, and that's visit the graves of some of the pioneers.  There are many in the Ogden cemetery near the west side that have a 'Faith In Every Footstep" seal on the headstone.
It's amazing to think that some of the pioneers that helped establish the roots of our state are buried here in our own town.  This is again a simple, but meaningful activity to make Pioneer day and weekend one to remember.

 I know we all learned something and made some great memories together today.  Homeschooling is worth it- I see that when I look back at the photos of what we are doing and see my children's glowing faces.  They are having experiences they couldn't have any other way.  And I'm helping make that happen.  Homeschooling is HARD so when you have a good day, you've got to pat yourself on the back!  That's what this post was.  We will see what tomorrow brings though!  Happy Pioneer Day!
Love, Eva

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

4th of July Fun

More patriotic pics coming!  Love, Eva

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Flag Day Our Way

 Flag day was all about red, white and blue & learning about our flag.

 Sammy cheezing it up!
 We looked at a great library book that gave the history of our flag.
 It was fun to see all the variations it used to have.
 We saw people holding the flag up during wars and recognized the Civil War uniform.
 My dad was a Civil War Reenactor and they even found a Bowie knife in the book 
like the one in the his picture.
 We talked about the importance of the flag, why it was 50 stars and 13 stripes, and why it never touches the ground.
 Then we had a lot of fun with red, white and blue flexible glow sticks!!!!  And that was pretty much it, but we learned a lot and had a lot of fun.  The shapes they made got cooler and cooler...Enjoy!  Love, Eva