Monday, February 28, 2011

100 Books-a-Month Challenge :: February 2011

Although February is a short month, and it's flown by, we were able to get a good bit of reading done.  As you can see there are some repeats, especially in Pretty Girl's list.  We're finding favorite titles as well as favorite authors.

  1. Hog-Eye by Susan Meddaugh
  2. Put It on the List by Kristen Darbyshire
  3. Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
  4. Miss Bindergarten Has a Wild Day in Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
  5. Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
  6. I really, REALLY need actual ice skates by Lauren Child
  7. Library Lil by Suzanne Williams
  8. Wildlife Gardening: How to Bring Birds and Bugs to Your Backyard by Martyn Cox
  9. My Chickens by Heather Miller
  10. The Jumbo Vegetarian Cookbook by Judi Gillies & Jennifer Glossop
  11. Hide and Seek First Words by Dawn Sirett
  12. Cookbook for Girls: Festive food for fun times by Denise Smart
  13. Tomatoes by Elaine Landau
  14. 3-D Explorer: Oceans--A Journey from the surface to the seafloor by Jen Green
  15. Raptors! The Nastiest Dinosaurs by Don Lessem
  16. Giant Meat-Eating Dinosaurs by "Dino" Don Lessem
  17. Dinosaurs by John Long
  18. The Christmas Story by Rhona Davies
  19. Absolutely Not by Matthew McElligott
  20. Rainbow Fish and the Sea Monsters' Cave by Marcus Pfister
  21. Rapunzel's Amazing Hair by Kiki Thorpe
  22. Dragon Stew by Steve Smallman
  23. Lightning Was Here by Disney/Pixar
  24. Mr. Large in Charge by Jill Murphy
  25. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  26. Tally Cat Keeps Track by Trudy Harris
  27. The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons
  28. A Kid's Guide to How Flowers Grow by Patricia Ayers
  29. Polly's Pink Pajamas by Vivian French
  30. Time for Ballet by Adele Geras
  31. Little Ballet Start by Adele Garas
  32. The Africa Book (more looking than reading)
  33. Earth's Cycles: The Plant Life Cycle by Cheryl Jakab
  34. When Will It be Spring? by Catherin Walters
  35. The Return to Narnia: The Rescue of Prince Caspian based on Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe based on the original book by C.S. Lewis
  37. Barack Obama 44th President of the United States by Jill C. Wheeler
  38. African Americans Who Were First by Joan Potter and Constance Claytor
  39. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  40. Dinosaurs Forever by William Wise
  41. I Get So Hungry by Bebe Moore Campbell
  42. Loved Best by Patricia McKissack
  43. Math for all Seasons by Greg Tang
  44. I have a Dream, Too! by Jean Alicia Elster
  45. We All Went on Safari: a Counting Journey through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs
  46. Even More Parts: Idioms from Head to Toe by Tedd Arnold
  47. What Santa Can't Do by Douglas Wood
  48. Boundless Grace by Mary Hoffman
  49. 10-Step Guide to Living with Your Monster by Laura Numeroff
  50. The Jumbo Book of Space by Cynthia Pratt Nicolson
  51. Every Planet Has a Place: A Book About Our Solar System by Becky Baines
  52. The Milky Way by Fran Howard
  53. The Earth in Space by Peter Riley
  54. Space by Alan Dyer
  55. No Biting Louise by Margie Palatini
  56. Tinker Bell and the Wings of Rani by Disney

Pretty Girl's List
57. Pinkalicious: Pink around the Rink by Victoria Karr
58. Poppleton in Winter by Cynthia Rylant
59. The Garden that We Grew by Joan Holub
60. Fancy Nancy: My Family History by Jane O'Connor
61. Fancy Nancy and the Boy from Paris by Jane O'Connor
62. Fancy Nancy Sees Starts by Jane O'Connor
63. It Could Still Be A Mammal by Allan Fowler

Books on Tape/CD
64. The Cat in the Hat read by Kelsey Grammer
65. Horton Hears a Who! read by Dustin Hoffman
66. Did I Ever Tell you How Lucky You Are? read by John Cleese
67. The Lorax read by Ted Danson
68. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! read by Walter Matthau
69. Yertle the Turtle read by John Lithogow
70. Gertrude McFuzz read by John Lithogow
71. The Big Brag read by John Lithogow
72. Thidwick, The Big-Hearted Moose read by Mercedes McCambridge
73. Horton Hatches the Egg read by Billy Crystal
74. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back read by Kelsey Grammer
75. Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
76. Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary
77. Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary
78. Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary
79. Zelda and Ivy and the Boy Next Door by Laura McGee Kvasnosky
80. Satchmo's Blues by Alan Schroeder
81 - 87. The Horse and His Boy Chapters 1-7 by C.S. Lewis

My List
88. The Complete Herb Book by Jekka McVicar
89. Beginners' Guide to Herb Gardening by Yvonne Cuthbertson
90. The Organic Home Garden: How to Grow Fruits & Vegetables Naturally by Patrick Lima
91. Salad Gardens: Simple Secrets for Glorious Gardens--Indoors and Out by Mimi Luebbermann
92. Gardens for Birds: Hummingbirds & Butterflies by Linda D. Harris
93. 10-Minute Feng Shui Room by Room by Skye Alexander
94. Basic Composting by Stackpole Books
95. Ayurveda: A Holistic Approach to Health by Reenita Malhotra Hora

So how did you do?  Please leave your link in the comment section below.  Thanks for joining us!

Happy Reading!

    Friday, February 25, 2011


    They've asked for the past few days to paint.  Today was the day!

    Sewing Creations

    Pretty Girl spent most of the morning yesterday making her dolls some new outfits.  She used some fabric scraps I had and handmade these little get ups!

    She and I are both very pleased with her creations!

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011


    I surprised the kids with a trip to the zoo this morning.  I am always amazed at just how excited they become when we arrive.  Yeah, we've been here before (plenty of times) and seen these same faces.  But somehow, it's new every time.

    Pretty Girl and Sweetie-pie got their own maps this time and planned our path so that we could see all the animals we wanted to see (and some that weren't on the list).

    The Boy did his best to run away ahead of us the entire time, making noises at the animals and scary faces at passersby.  SMH.  What can I say?

    We were pleasantly surprised to see some new creatures that the zoo has added to their collection.  Here are a few shots of our time.

    New Parakeet Exhibit

    New Photo Op Board


    Willie B. (life-size statue)

    A Silverback

    Breakfast time!

    I liked Sweetie's reflection in this shot


    I'm thankful for my father, who knows the importance of having these experiences and has covered us over the past several years with membership.  No matter where we are in the month (financially) we can always go to the zoo!  [Thanks Daddy!]

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Game Day :: Library Day

    We hosted a game day/support gathering for our home school group today at our library.  It was like two days wrapped into one!  I only took pics at the beginning, as once we got engaged in playing/talking I forgot to get more. lol

    It was nice to watch the children playing and learning some new games.  And it's always refreshing to have some positive adult interaction!!

    After we finished up with our friends, we took our library time, as Tuesdays are reserved for checking out books and reading IN the library.  Here are a few shots of where you'll find us:

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Weekend Update!

    So we had another lovely weathered weekend!  I was able to pry us out of bed and into the outdoors!

    With the kiddies & puppies around foot, it's amazing that my dh and I were able to make great head-way in the back yard!  Remember the Koi pond that I told you about?  It's right behind the deck, well, I guess you one could say it's in front of the deck (looking back towards the house)! lol  Anyway, there was a lovely canopy/cover-thing over it that we lost during the "Winter Storm" that shut down the city for an entire week in January.  It feel beneath the weight of the ice.  I've been a bit bitter about that--but I've moved forward.

    Anyway, we finally got it dismantled.  As dh was moving it across the yard, in smaller pieces, of course, I looked and saw something new.  (I love re-purposing things!)  I saw a trellis for letting my beans grow up (or the peppers, squash, flowers, etc. that I've been dreaming about).  We also talked about using it to hold a cover for lettuce--as it get really hot here.  We could even make a little 'hot house' for our tomatoes.  Oh!  The possibilities.

    Then my dh decided that he needed to clean out the Koi pond.  We did.  In all the work and cleaning of it, we found how just how genius the previous occupant was in planning this back yard/garden space.  We have this large looking extension coming off the back of the house.  It looks like an oversized tool space that one might have on the back of a truck (just MUCH larger).  I finally looked at it and saw that it's a large rain-catcher.  I can't say barrel, as it's not that.  The box has been lined with the same material you'd use to make a pond.  Well, it's full of rainwater that was then used for the Koi pond, which was used to water the garden.  We couldn't ask for anything better!

    We were told that the Koi were living at the bottom of the pond.  Not so.  So now dh is deciding if we'll do Koi or try our hand at some Tilapia and work the aquaponic system he learned about several years back.

    All I have to say is things are really getting exciting over here!  I hope to have things in the ground in the next couple weeks. 

    Did I mention the yard is outlined in lime trees???  They have the sharpest thorns I've ever encountered. From what I've read they sharper the thorns, the better the fruit.  Interesting.  We'll have several more years before they reach the stage of bearing fruit--but even that thought is delightful.

    (Sorry, no photos, I was too busy working....and dreaming!)

     Hope you're weekend was warm!

    Book Sharing Monday (literally)

    Happy Monday to you all!

    Today I'd like to share a book with you that holds the sentiments of my children: When Will it Be Spring? by Catherine Walters

    It's about a little bear names Alfie who can't wait for it to be spring.  The story begins with his mother calling him into their den to sleep.  She says, "When you wake up it will be Spring!"  And from that point on, Alfie can't seem to remain asleep with all the excitement of the arrival of Spring.  Through the story and illustrations we find that it will be a long while before Spring arrives.  It's a cute little story and yes, at the end, Spring does arrive! :D

    What also makes this such a great book is that I'm offering it to one of you, my dear readers!  If you're interested, leave a comment below (name & way to contact you) and I'll let you know on next Monday's blog who will receive it!

    [Please note that this book isn't brand new, but has been treated gently and respectfully, so it's "like" new!]

    If you'd like to join in on Book Sharing Monday, please hop over to Canadian Home Learning and let Alex know.

    Happy Reading to each of you!

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Our Yard/Garden

    For the past two days we've spent the entire afternoon [well, once we've gotten home from the morning activities we've had this week] IN THE YARD!  The weather has been purr-fect for this!! It's been in the mid to upper 60's!  The air is so fresh, birds can be heard and seen flying overhead.

    I've checked out a dozen or so gardening books from the library, making lists, circling seeds/plants I want to get in catalogs, and dreaming of what the late summer and fall will be--for our garden, that is.

    I took some before photos, as there is a lot of work to be done in this backyard area.  Let me say here that I am not afraid of work!!  The previous occupant was definitely a gardener, and from what I can tell, had a dream for this space as well.  It is taking me some time to figure out just what that plan/dream was, but I'm learning as we clear out the space of leaves.  [There are SO MANY leaves!]

    Clearing out the old tomato raised bed

    Leaves everywhere; remnants of last year's gardening

    All sorts of things....trying to make sense of it! :D

    Along the perimeter of the yard are planted some type of evergreen tree and another time of tree/bush that I haven't been able to identify yet, in a nice little pattern.  It appears that there were raised beds (without definition) all throughout the yard.  I've counted 18 of these raised beds--most all of them had something growing in them last season. There were several varieties of peppers when we moved in and tomatoes.  Then there are two large enclosed planting spaces--enclosed meaning with wood trim and chicken wire.

    I have identified the blueberry bushes that have been planted between some of the 'raised beds' and there is a rather LARGE composting area.  Ideally, I'd like to move it to the back corner of the yard--I've already started another small pile back there.  I'll need the hubs assistance with this, so for now, it will remain where it is.

    We talked about where to place things, taking into consideration which areas will have more sun/shade than others.  In cleaning up the yard (there was so much trash!) we found a lot of garden decorations.  Some we'll use again, others are not in any condition to be called decorations! lol

    The boy found a worm--which is a wonderful sign!

    A worm!

    The girls spent more time playing with the puppies (which will be leaving for forever homes soon).

    Doing her best to keep one

    Aren't they adorable?!

    So after two late afternoons of raking leaves, picking up trash and other debris this is how things are starting to shape up:

    This is a 'sectioned' area that had a variety of tomato plants

    Leaves in large pile next to composting area (surrounded by tree stumps/logs)

    We are definitely going to plant vegetables; the girls want a butterfly garden (I do too), and herbs are on the list as well.  I'm thinking that I'll do them in containers on the deck.  Then there's the Koi pond to get up and running.  Yes, it's a lot, but I'm thrilled!!  The sun and fresh air, working and dreaming have truly awakened my soul!  Spring is just around the corner!!!!

    That's our update for now---heading back outside! :D

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Arbor Day :: Storytime & Activities

    Today we participated in some Arbor Day activities for our area.  I was a bit confused when I got the information initially as I thought Arbor Day was in April.  Well, for our region of the county it falls on the 3rd Friday in February.  This is because it's the best time to plant trees.  (Learn something new everyday!)

    So here's a look at some of the things we did.  We learned a few new things and this reinforced some new knowledge we've obtained since we're learning about plants and their lifecycle.

    Intro to Arbor Day


    Identifying parts of a tree

    Tree Planting

    Shoveling dirt

    More dirt

    Even more!

    Adding some pine straw

    Feeling the bark

    Making a pine cone bird feeder

    Spreading on the shortening (we've used peanut butter in the past)

    Rolling it in the bird seed

    Adding a string for hanging

    All done! (bird feeders in bags)
    All in all, another great learning experience!

    Valentine's Day Party

    Celebrated with our home school friends yesterday.

    The 'prepared environment' :D

    Making bags to hold valentine's

    More decorating


    Group game: Try to Make me Laugh!

    Another group game: Charades

    Enjoying the food!

    Discussing the History of Valentine's Day

    Ending with Musical Chairs

    All Smiles!

    We all had a fabulous time!  We made new friends (which is always a plus!).  We also participated in the library's Valentine's Day Scavenger Hunt.  Can't wait for the next time we're together.


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