Chasing Cheerios

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I'm a little late with this Thanksgiving's been on my mind for about 9 months, but getting it out of my mind and onto the blog is not always doable.

When Elliott was first diagnosed with his brain tumor last February someone told us to think about Thanksgiving and how we would really have something to be thankful for this year.  I clung to that memory throughout the agonizing process of deciding on a neurosurgeon and then his craniotomy and recovery.  It all seemed to happen so fast that I still don't think I've completely processed it.

So, here is what I am most thankful for this year...I am so thankful for that annoying and ongoing sinus infection that led to a cat scan which led to an MRI which located the lurking, asymptomatic tumor deep within Elliott's brain.  I am thankful for good health insurance which enabled us to have his craniotomy done by one of the best neurosurgeons in the country at minimal cost to us.  I am thankful for the amazing support of our family, friends, and strangers throughout this process.  I'm thankful that we were able to keep our senses of humor and laugh through the most difficult times in our lives.  I am thankful for an amazing surgeon who got the job done quickly and successfully.  I am thankful that Elliott recovered so quickly and so well (although the first few days were horrendous).  I am thankful that his tumor was benign, and there is an 85% chance that his tumor will not grow back (I live in fear of that 15% chance that it will).  I am thankful that there does not seem to be a hereditary component to this type of tumor, so our children are not at a greater risk of having a brain tumor.  I am thankful that our children have a daddy that plays with them in a treehouse and then climbs so high in the tree that their mama yells at him to come down (he didn't survive a brain tumor to fall out of a tree!).  I am thankful for my 2 sweet, loving, healthy, kind, generous, compassionate, stubborn, hilarious, brilliant girls who were asleep by 7:15 tonight which gave me a minute to write this blog post!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mailbox Math

Whenever we go for walks in the girls' grandparents neighborhood, we always have fun playing mailbox math.  It's pretty simple...they excitedly run from one mailbox to the next.  O(6) reads the numbers and/or adds the numbers together.  E(3) identifies the individual numbers.  E is always so excited when she sees a 3...she says "That's MY number!"

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Studying Ancient China

We recently read a chapter on Ancient China in our Story of the World (SOTW) book.  The girls and I had fun reading books about China, eating at a Chinese restaurant, and doing a few other fun things based on China.

E(3) wasn't interested in wearing the Chinese outfit, so O(6) squeezed into it.  She had fun practicing her bows.

They drank hot tea from bowls and learned to write with a brush and ink.  O is using an ink stick (from our Ancient China Treasure Chest) to make ink.

We found China on our Smartglobe and listened to the national anthem.  Both girls LOVE this globe!

We looked at China via Google Earth and zoomed in on the Great Wall of China.

We read about Chinese children in our Children Just Like Me book.  Both girls LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book!

We loved reading Ms. Frizzle's Adventures in Imperial China.

Both girls really like The Seven Chinese Brothers. 

That's about it for Ancient China.  It was fun, and we all learned a lot!

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Spark Super Story Starters

Here is the promised review of Spark! Super Story Starters...

Both of our girls have really enjoyed coming up with stories based on the questions and pictures from these cards.  I was surprised when E(3) was so eager to participate (since she would only copy O's stories with our other Spark! cards).

A few days ago during our school time, I chose a card and asked O(6) to draw a picture story based on the question on the card.  I was surprised to see that she decided to copy the question.  This child detested writing of any kind just a few months ago, but now she is self-assigning herself copywork with more and more frequency.

She then took the card and her paper to the light box, so that she could trace the fairy onto her paper. She loved tracing the fairy, and she was VERY proud of the end result.

After she finished tracing the fairy, she drew a purple giraffe.

She told a story to go along with her picture...I wish I'd recorded or written down her story.  It was short, but sweet.  O really loved this activity, and I'm looking forward to using these cards to set up various "works" for the girls in our new school room.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Tamara from Spark! Story Starters sent us a set of Kaleidograph Flora and Spark Super Story Starters to thank us for reviewing her Spark cards, and we love both of them!  Since they both would make great stocking stuffers, I wanted to make sure to review them before Christmas.  So, here's the first of the two reviews...

Both girls and I LOVE Kaleidographs!  E(3) loves to create her own designs.

O(6) and I love to make the patterns from the included pattern sheet.  I love that the patterns are challenging enough for me, but easy enough for O to be successful. 

With each new design, O and I studied the patterns and determined which cards we needed.  Then we worked together to decide in which order to place the cards and how to orient them.  We had to make many adjustments as we worked, and it was so much fun!

After copying the patterns for a while, O had fun creating her own patterns. 

Here is a description of the Kaleidographs from Red Hen Toys...

"Crystalline geometries in brilliant color ... the 9 die-cut cards (and 3 solid backers) of the Kaleidograph® can be arranged into billions of designs. Based upon geometry in nature, the Kaleidograph upholds the tradition of the original creative design toys of the Froebel Kindergarten system that are known to have influenced Albert Einstein, Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, Piet Mondrian, and design education at the Bauhaus. Like the floral forms found in nature, the Kaleidograph Flora is based on interconnected circular radial forms which can be assembled and overlaid into hundreds of millions of possible patterns. Richly personal and environmentally friendly, the Kaleidograph Flora is a toy for all ages. It fosters creativity, rewards with surprise, and brings out the designer in everyone."

I highly recommend Kaleidographs, and we plan to buy the Kaleidograph Crystal set, too!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Alphabet Movement Cards

Someone emails me at least once a week asking for the link to the Alphabet Movement cards (posted about here).  So, I decided it was time to re-post the link! Here it is!  Thanks to The Home Teacher for this awesome resource!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Studying the Nervous System

We are studying the Nervous System in science this week.  Luckily, I won a giveaway from Montessori Print Shop a year or so ago, so we have some fantastic science work!  We had fun doing this 5 Senses work.

We read this book and loved it.

We spend so much time on history (due to the girls' extreme interest) that we neglect science...I'm trying to remedy that lately.

Here's the link to the 5 Senses work at Montessori Print Shop.

Here's a link to the book at Amazon.  (I paid 50 cents for it at a thrift store)  All links to Amazon are affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting Chasing Cheerios.