Welcome to TwoCowgirls, the blog about our crazy life in Downtown Saint Paul!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Zoos, Ducks, and Monster Trucks

Every time I sit down to write up our weekly update, I have to get out my calendar to see what we did over the course of the week.  I can never just remember.  Well, this week was special, because I looked at my calendar and I STILL couldn't remember what we did!  Yikes.  Either I'm getting really old, or this week was rather uneventful ;)  I think it's the latter.  Thank goodness for photographic records ;)

Before I post the weekly update, I will post Millie's recital piece from last weekend.  Buds phone froze up, so we didn't get the first two songs, but we got the last one (my favorite!).

Here's what we did:


Today we were supposed to have a play date, but it got rained out...again!  We used our gift of time to design a zoo!  It was harder than we were expecting (I should have known, since the grade range was 6-12).  The kids had fun with a slight variation of it, though.  I'm definitely going to keep it on hand to use in the future, when I teach geometry.  I think I'll get this version of Design a Zoo for younger kids (3rd-6th) and try again.


Today was playgroup day!  It was also a very late-start day for me.  I have been working extra late lately, and I didn't get to bed until closer to 4 AM.  My body has adjusted to a 3 AM bedtime now after 9 years, but even going to bed a half hour later throws me off.  Ick.  Millie ended up missing piano lessons because of my sleepiness.  Sad!  We made it to playgroup, through!  We went to Silverwood because the weather was kind of iffy.  The moms sat inside and drank coffee while the big girls played outside.  There were some cute baby ducks and other recent developments at the park that the girls had to check out.  Elise's friend wasn't there, so she sat with the teen boys and played video games.  It was pretty cute.


Today was my mommy's birthday, so we were going to go to the farm to celebrate with her, but my mom requested that I stay home and nap, because "even (my) voice sounds tired."  So, as a girl that always listens to her mama, I stayed home and napped. :)  The girls were inspired by their "design a zoo" assignment from Monday, and decided to make actual zoos out of supplies from around the house.  I love that they're being creative, having fun, and spending quality sister time together, but...oh, my poor living room!  Ha!


Today I slept in really late (again).  I really hope the super late nights end soon, they're ruining my days.  Booo.  At 2, I brought the girls to their grandmas house for a sleepover with Aunt Kinsey!  They watched a lot of Barbie Life in the Dream House, played with their neighbor friends, built a fort, stayed up LATE, and had a super fun time.  Since they were gone, I had the rest of the day to myself!!!  I used the time to finish up the website for the field trip club I'm starting.  It's pretty much done now, I just have to have a few people test it for bugs.


I didn't have to pick up the girls until afternoon, so Bud and I spent the morning walking around Downtown. It was so fun!  After lunch, we picked up the girls, and took them to see a monster truck at one of the local car dealerships.  Fun times :)

That pretty much sums it up!  Next week is our last week of school for the summer!  I can't believe it.  The year went by so fast.  I'm actually kind of sad to see it come to an end.  I loooove routine.  I have my summer schedule pretty much all worked out (except for a 3 day period in June).  It's going to be a good one :)

Find out what other homeschoolers were up to this week, here.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mounties, Minnehaha Falls, and Eco Systems


Since I made the decision to wrap up school after testing, and take it easy for the rest of the school year, we seem to have been doing a lot more school.  Ha!  It's all going so smoothly!

Here's what we did this week:


The girls did their school work in the morning (math and reading for Elise, and typing, literature, and math for Millie).  They had some free time to play in the afternoon.  We found some time to scooter up to the capital grounds, and walk to the pet store to get some horn wort plants for Wednesdays SciGirls class. On the way to the pet store, we encountered some mounted police. It's so fun to see them riding around downtown!  The girls got to pet them, and ask the police a bunch of questions :)


Today was Millies last piano lesson before her recital!  I think she's very ready :)  I absolutely love the duet she's doing with her teacher; It brings tears to my eyes.  After lessons and a quick lunch, we met up with friends at Minnehaha Falls.  It was a beautiful day.  The kids all separated into their groups (big boys, big girls, and little girls), and did their own things.  Before we left, we went on a mini-hike down to the falls.  It's so pretty!


SciGirls!  This was the SciGirls class that we were stressing out about the most.  It required a lot of planning, timing, and supplies.  It turned out to go perfectly.  Yay!  the girls had fun going on a tour of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, and making eco-systems to take home.  We were so lucky to have beautiful weather, since the class was entirely outside.

Thursday & Friday:

If you ask my girls, they'd say that these days were total duds.  They did their normal school work, but we didn't do anything else exciting.  They played, Millie worked on her DIY Acting Camp challenges, they had a tea party, etc.  It was nice for me to have a couple days to turn my brain off, after having just completed my first semester back at school.

It was a great week!  Find out what other homeschoolers did this week, here!

This weekend will find us attending Millie's piano recital, going to the farmers market, 
and vegging out.  Yay!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Annual Testing, Play Dates, and Navigating the Light Rail

This was finals week for me!  I am officially finished with my first week back to school, and I finished with straight A's.  That has never happened to me before :)  Weeeee!  I love that I'm going back to school, and I love that my kids see me working towards a dream.

OK, on to our week.  Here's what we did:


The girls had their annual testing bright and early.  Elise went first.  I eavesdropped from the kids room while she tested, and it was well...hilarious.

     Tester:  Why do we have laws?
     Elise:  So people don't go cray-cray

     Tester:  What language do most people in the United States speak?
     Elise:  Spanish

He he he!  Both girls did really well on their tests.  Millie tested way above level in reading, science, and history.  She's right on grade level for everything else.  Elise tested above grade level in math, and on grade level for everything else.

After testing, we had a surprise visit from some friends.  We ended up going to a playground for a few hours.  It was a beautiful day, we all had a great time!


Today Millie had a really great piano lesson.  Afterwards, we went to playgroup at a park.  The kids all played together really well, it was pretty sweet.


DIY Club day!  Today our friends met up at our house, and we left on a Light Rail adventure.  The kids had to navigate their way from the light rail station to the Mall of America completely on their own.  We were there of course, but they weren't allowed to ask any adults for help.  They had to rely on map reading.  Millie really knew her way around.  If for some odd reason, Millie had to go to the MOA on her own, she could totally do it.  We all had lunch at the mall, and then came back home.


Today I woke up early and brought the girls down to the farm.  I needed the day to myself to do a science lab, finish up the last of my school work, and take my Earth Science lab final.  It was a great day!  I loved having some alone time.  After my lab final, Bud and I grabbed some pizza at Black Sheep.  A date!!


Today I slept in as late as possible.  It was great!!  After lunch I picked up the kids from the farm.  It was so great  to see them again :)  They showed me the brand new baby kitties that were born that morning.  Soooo sweet!  Meow :)

The weekend brought a birthday, the Style Pile, another trip to the farm, and Mothers Day brunch.  It was a great weekend!!

Find out what other homeschoolers did this week, here!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

DIY Camp, Parks, and Newspaper Outfits

Only four weeks left of school!  I've upped my game, and we're going to end the school year with a (very fun) bang.  Here's what's going on:
  1. Annual testing is on Monday
  2. After that, we're going to have some serious fun
    1. We're going to design a zoo
    2. Learn about the rainforest
    3. Work on 4-H projects
    4. The girls will do a little delight directed learning.
This week was so nice!  The weather is great, and from what I hear, it's here to stay.  Hooray!  Here's what we did this week:


The girls did their school work in the morning, and then we left for the last day of Gale Woods Farm!  Their class was shorter than usual because the last 45 minutes was set aside for a parent tour.  It was fun to see what the girls had been doing for the past 8 weeks.  They both made really nice friends at class.


 Piano was cancelled today because Millie's teacher was in a car accident :(  She'll be OK, but is very sore.  With our gift of time, we did  a lot of school work in the morning, and went to playgroup in the afternoon.  We had to stop by the U of M to pick up an ipad for Millie to use for a DIY.org camp that she's doing through 4-H.  It's an intro to acting camp.  She's having so much fun already!!  After that we went to playgroup and played with friends at a playground for a while.  The sun cooked my back, and it felt sooooo good!!


"A structure that holds 10 pounds"
Today we did school work in the morning, and then met up with friends at Fort Snelling State Park.  Elise had been looking forward to this date for a week!  She exchanged Pokemon cards with a friend, while Millie and her friend played on the beach.  Spring is so beautiful, and so SO welcome, it was fantastic to sit outside and chit chat with another homeschool mama for a few hours.  While I made dinner, Elise was busy working on *something*.  Turns out, she was building "a structure that holds 10 pounds!!"  She was pretty proud of herself :)


Amazingly, we had a stay-at-home day!!  It was so nice.  The kids acted like they hadn't been out and about in years, they were so stir-crazy.  Grrr.  I had class in the evening.  Millie and Elise went to the Humane Society with their aunt to register for the Walk for Animals, and then played with cousins until 9:30.  I had the house to myself for a couple hours.  It was nice, although I didn't get as much done as I had hoped to.


Today did school, and then had an impromptu playdate at a friends house.  It was supposed to be at a playground, but it started raining.  Boo.  Everyone had fun, anyway.  Millie and her friend scootered up to the local coffee shop to get a treat.  I love having a kid that's exploring her independence.  I remember that feeling when I was little.  Freedom!!  In the evening, we had 4-H.  Millie and a friend ran the Cloverbud activity, and the club had a competition to see who could make the best costume out of newspaper.  It was so much fun (even for me!).

This weekend will find us doing the Walk for Animals, deep cleaning the 4-H building, and spring cleaning the house.  

Find out what other homeschoolers were up to this week, here.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Our Week In Pictures

No time to write this week!  I have a 10 page paper due.  Topic:  The Post WWII Home.

Here's what we did this week:

Elise had a fever on Monday, so she made a nest in the back of
the station wagon and hung out with me while Millie was at farm class.

Nature Seekers club.  They saw 7 deer!
We also had playgroup, piano lessons, and a couple at-home days.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ancient History - 2nd & 6th Grade

It's time to start the cycle over again!  Here we are, back at the beginning of time, studying ancient history.  I'm so excited, and so are the kids.  We took last year off from history to study geography, and boy did we miss it!  I have a lot of fun things planned this year.

I don't purchase a specific curriculum because I'm a bit of a control freak, and none of the curricula that I've seen has met my needs perfectly.  The closest one I've found is Guest Hollow, which is what I use as my guide.  It's amazing, and clearly a labor of love by the homeschool mom that wrote it!

Welp, without further ado, here is our 33 week ancient history plan:

Week 1 - Early People:

Usborne World History
Read aloud: The Clan of the Cave Bear
Make cave paintings on a brown paper bag (inspiration)
Watch a couple videos about ancient people:

Week 2 - Early People:

Usborne World Hisotry
Read aloud:  The clan of the Cave Bear
Make kabobs over an open fire
Watch a video about ancient people:

Week 3 - Ice age:

Read aloud:  The Clan of the Cave Bear
Read in class:  Life in the Great Ice Age
Watch: Ice Age Death Trap on Netflix

Week 4 - Stonehenge:

Read aloud:  The Clan of the Cave Bear
Read about and play with Stonehenge blocks

Week 5 - Egypt:

Read aloud: Tirzah
Millie to start reading: The Cat of Bubastes
Read Pyramids! pages 7-20.  Make scarab soap carvings

Week 6 - Egypt:

Read aloud:  Tirzah
Read Pyramids!  pages 27-38.  Make reed boats
Read in class: Pepi and the Secret Names
Read Pyramids! pages 58-60.  Write a message in hieroglyphics.

Week 7 - Egypt:

Read aloud:  Tirzah
Activities from Pyramids book
Read Pyramids! pages 39-56.  Make a plaster relief.

Week 8 - Egypt:

Read aloud:  Tirzah
Read Pyramids! pages 63-80.  Make a nemes.
Watch The Mummy (1999 version, pg-13)
Go visit the mummy at the science museum

Week 9 - Trojan Horse:

Read Aloud:  Black Ships Before Troy
Read in class:  The Trojan Horse by Emily Little

Week 10 - Rome:

Millie's reading: Pardons Price (Diane Yoder)
Activity from Ancient Rome book
Read Aloud: Black Ships Before Troy

Week 11 - Rome:

Activity from Ancient Rome book
Read Aloud:  Black Ships Before Troy

Week 12 - Rome:

Activity from Ancient Rome book
Read Aloud:  Black Ships Before Troy

Week 13 - Rome:

Activity from Ancient Rome book
Read aloud (not historical fiction!)  Baby Island - Carol Ryrie Brink

Week 14 - Ancient Native Americans:

Field trip time!  Go take a look at the Indian mounds
Read aloud - Baby Island

Week 15 - Aesops Fables:

Read a few of 'em
Read aloud - Baby Island

Week 16 - Oil Lamps

Make an oil lamp

Week 17 - Greece:

Activities from Ancient Greece book
Read aloud: Black Ships Before Troy
Millie to read: Detectives in Togas

Week 18 - Greece:

Activities from Ancient Greece book
Story time in class:  The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

Week 19 - Greece:

Activities from Ancient Greece book

Week 20 - Greece:

Activities from Ancient Greece book
Read aloud: Lysis Goes to Play

Week 21 - Cleopatra:

Read in class: Cleopatra by Diane Stanley
Read aloud:  Lysis Goes to Play

Week 22 - Jesus:

Netflix: Mystery Files: Birth of Christ
Read aloud:  Lysis Goes to Play

Week 23 - Pompeii:

Read in class:  Pompeii...Buried Alive! (Edith Kunhardt)
Read Aloud (not historical fiction!):  The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook

Week 24 - Maya:

Do a Mayan mapping exercise
Netflix:  Watch Dawn of the Maya
Read Aloud: The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook

Week 25 - Fall of the Roman Empire:

Watch the video and take the test
Read Aloud:  The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook

Week 26 - Daily life in the dark ages:

Read aloud:  The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great
Activities from Knights activity book
Read in class: Arhcers, Alchemists, and 98 Other Medieval Jobs You Might Have Loved or Loathed

Week 27 - King Arthur and knights:

Read aloud:  The adventures of Sir Gawan
Activities from Knights activity book
Netflix: Mystery Files:  King Arthur

Week 28 - Book Making:

Read Marguerite Makes A Book
Make a book
   (or, field trip to book arts place)
Read aloud:  The adventures of Sir Gawan
Watch a video about the invention of the printing press

Week 29 - Vikings:

Read aloud:  Viking Quest series
Read Life as a Viking
Work on Viking lapbook as we watch documentaries
Millie read: How to Tame Your Dragon
Field trip time!  Armor museum

Week 30 - Leif Erickson:

Read aloud: Viking Quest series
Millie read: How to Tame Your Dragon
Finish Viking lapbook
Read Leif the Lucky

Week 31 - The early/childrens crusades:

Read aloud: Viking Quest series
Videos and quizzes about the crusades (sign up for the 5 day free trial)

Week 32 - Marco Polo:

Read aloud:  Viking Quest series
Marco Polo lap book
Make a salt dough map

Week 33 - Joan of Arc:

Read Aloud - Joan of Arc: The Lilymaid
Netflix: Mystery Files: Joan of Arc

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Habsburgs, All About Reading, and a Homeschool Convention

I'm late to getting my weekend update up because I was busy filling my head with encouragement and teaching ideas at a homeschool convention!  I'm back at home now, so I'm going to write about our week, and then spend some time sifting through my bag full of goodies from the convention.  Squeee!

Here's what we did this week:


 Mooo, Gale Woods Farm!  I can't remember what the girls learned about this week, but I know they made cookies.  The hallway smelled so good.  Another thing I can't wait for them to make me once they get their packet of recipes on the last day of class :)  Prior to leaving for class, the girls did their school work.  Millie is trying really hard to master adding, subtracting, multiplying, and diving fractions, working on her spelling words, and reading The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.  Elise has been working on her reading.


Today we got up early for piano lessons.  In fact, we got up so early, that Elise and Bud were still sleeping when we left.  :)  Millie had a great lesson.  Afterwards, we came home for a quick snack and then left to meet up with our playgroup at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to see the Habsburgs exhibit.  It was so amazing!  It was so cool to see actual suits of armor, jousting outfits, artwork, sleighs, carriages and clothing from that family.  I need to learn more about them, now.  After that, the girls and I went to Snuffs Malt Shop for lunch and...you guessed it...malts.  :)  Fun day!

In the evening, the girls had play practice, so Bud and I snuck away to Stillwater to have dinner together at a little pizza place.  We had a loaded baked potato pizza.  Mmmmmmm!  That was the first time we had been on a date together in months and months.  


A stay at home day!  Today we didn't leave the house at all.  My car actually sat in its parking spot for over 24 hours without moving.  It's a record!  ;)  The girls worked on their school work, of course.  Elise finally passed All About Reading Level 1!!  She said "I feel so proud of myself."  She should!  She started out the year saying, "the one thing I DON'T want to do this year, is learn to read."  What do you know?  She's turning into a pretty good little reader :)  I'm so proud of her!!  While Millie worked on her school work, Elise took it upon herself to make a raft out of craft sticks, fill the tub, and test the flotation of her raft when it had different plastic animals on it.  Then, she made a new doll for the dollhouse.  I love that she will keep herself so busy!


Today we did school work, ran some errands, and got ready for Friday.  Knowing that Friday would be a BIG day, we took it easy most of the day.


The BIG day!!  The girls spent the day at their grandmas house.  Around 4, Bud went to get them, and took them to their Share the Fun competition through 4-H.  It was a looooong competition.  They didn't get home until 11 PM!  Their play didn't win, but they had a lot of fun practicing together.

I got to go to a homeschool convention!  It was so fabulous!  Here are some highlights from my experience:

We stayed at a swanky hotel that looked like a castle inside.  We each got our own bedroom, that had super comfy beds, and down comforters.  Each room had a huge flat screen TV (for a total of 3), and we had a super yummy breakfast in the morning (a make-your-own waffle bar!).  It was so fun!

I must say that I discovered a few really great things at the convention that I am madly in love with; Nest of Lydia: A Home Economics Curriculum, Circle C books, and above all, Classical Conversations.

Find out what other homeschool families did this week, here.