Chasing Cheerios

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Reading, Painting, and Loving It!

The girls and I really enjoyed a "homeschool" activity last week....I read to them from a book about Vikings while they painted with their liquid watercolors.  It was so wonderful and peaceful, and we all learned a lot!  This is how I am envisioning us spending much of our school day...the girls painting or coloring while I read to them from our vast selection of it!

When E(2) asked O(5) what she was painting, she said "it's from my imagination."

E said that she was painting a bird (and she was wearing her "old time" dress...another perk of homeschooling...they can wear pjs or dress-up clothes all day if they want to).

Monday, May 28, 2012

Polishing Silver

E(2) spent a long time (maybe 15 to 20 minutes) polishing a silver cup when we were at O's school for her last day.  She loved every minute of it!  Since O(5) also loves the polishing works, I'm planning to have several of this type of activity set up in our new school room.

To polish the silver cup, E(2) dipped a q-tip in toothpaste and rubbed the toothpaste all over the cup.  She then wiped it all off with a small washcloth.  Fun and simple!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Water Transfer with a Baster

E(2) and I spent O's last day of school with her (I am the class photographer, and I'm making the school yearbook, so I wanted to get pics of graduation practice and last day activities).  I didn't actually intend for E(2) to do "work" like the other students, but she jumped right in, and since it was fine with O's teacher, it was fine with me.  E thoroughly enjoyed herself, and she showed me several works that she wants to have on her homeschool shelves.  She particularly likes any "work" involving water.

She enjoyed transferring the water from one bowl to the other using a baster.  This is an easy and fun work that I'll definitely be putting on the Montessori shelf in our new school room!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chocolate Banana Pops

E(2) and my mom had fun making these yummy treats last week while I was at work and O(5) was at school.

To make these yummy treats, they sliced the bananas into chunks.  Then they melted dark chocolate candy (Dove...about 1/3 of a cup) and mixed it with 1/3 cup of peanut butter and a tablespoon of coconut oil.  They dipped each banana piece into the mixture, put them on wax paper, and put them in the freezer.  They waited a couple of hours and enjoyed their delicious treat!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Fun Transferring Activity

I revamped our frog and insect transferring activity by adding in a set of chopsticks and putting it on a new tray.  E(2) was EXCITED when I offered it to her this morning!

She loved feeding the insects to the frog, and she did a great job.

I love that we can do "school" activities on our deck.  We almost never used our deck until we FINALLY (after several years of thinking about it) bought furniture for it about a month or so ago.  Now, we eat all of our meals out there, paint out there, the girls dance and put on recitals, and the girls have started playing in their formally neglected deck playhouse almost everyday.  Good times!

Monday, May 21, 2012

What We Eat...

So, I was trying to think of a quick and easy post to write, and I thought it might be fun to share pics of our typical meals (since this is something we share with our cultural exchange participants).  I really don't like to cook, but it's VERY important to me that our girls are healthy eaters.  We eat LOTS of fruits and vegetables.  We have lots of variety within our meals, but not too much variety between meals (which is something I'm working on).   I fix almost all of their meals (except breakfast) on trays.  It just makes it a little bit more fun :)  

This was lunch on Saturday...they had watermelon, kiwi, avocado on the half shell, raw carrots and brocolli, and fried grouper.  I made ranch dip using ranch powder and Greek yogurt for dipping.  Unfortunately, I accidentally bought vanilla flavored yogurt and didn't realize it until I was mixing it up...we all tried it, but none of us could eat it.

I do not encourage the girls to "clean their plates," but I do insist that they "try" everything that I offer them.  E(2) is not a fan of kiwi, but she will usually take at least one bite and occasionally, she will gobble it all down like she loves it.

This was supper on Saturday.  They had oranges, kiwi, frozen blackberries, zucchini cooked with onions and garlic, raw carrots, baby dill pickles, pesto and veggie pizza on whole grain crust (the crust was store bought), and baked sweet potato.

This was lunch on Friday (or maybe supper...I can't remember and it doesn't matter :).  They had zucchini cooked with onions and garlic, steamed brocolli, carrots, and snow peas, rotisserie chicken, cooked cabbage and onions, avocado, and walnuts.

They had milk (organic) to drink and kiwi to share.

We went to Sam's Club recently, so we have lots of avocados, kiwi, broccolli, and carrots, so it will be more of the same tomorrow.  Luckily, they love it, and it's easy and healthy!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Children's Garden

We have really enjoyed our garden so far this year.  For the past couple of years, we've only planted grape tomatoes in our earthboxes, but I wanted to have a raised bed garden this year so that the children could be more involved.  So far, E(2) has really loved working in the garden, but O(5)'s interest comes and goes.  We planted the garden in their old sandbox (Thanks to Grandpa for this idea!  It worked perfectly!).

We planted eggplant, bell pepper, and cucumbers in the sandbox.  E is especially proud of the eggplant, and she regularly says "Look at my eggplant!"

In addition to planting in the old sandbox, we also planted in 3 earthboxes...grape tomatoes, tomatoes, and squash.

We have several other containers, and we have also planted sweet potatoes, onions, and carrots.  We planted lots of marigolds to put around our tomato plants as natural pest deterrents.  O loves arranging the marigolds around in the garden, and they both like pinching the suckers from the tomato plants.  O is convinced that we are not going to have to go to the grocery store anymore, and she's pretty excited about that!

I just realized that I neglected to mention that my mom is the driving force behind our garden (as she is every year).  I tell her what I want to do, and she makes sure it happens.  Thanks, Mom!

International/USA Cultural Exchange Update

Thanks to everyone who is participating in the International/USA Cultural Exchange.  I need to clarify about a few things...

This exchange will be ONGOING...if you have not received an email with your group members information, that does not mean that you will not be put into a group.  I am forming the groups as I get participants.  I am NOT setting a cut-off date.  After you are placed in a group, you are encouraged to communicate with your group members as to when you should send your packages.  So, if you would like to participate and have not emailed me yet, please do so at  

I am trying to make the international groups as diverse as possible...which means that I need 3 international participants for every 1 American.  This is why the forming of the groups is slow-going.  Also, it takes a while to sort through the emails to put people from different countries together (PLEASE put your country in the subject line of your email...this makes it SO much faster to organize groups).  So far, I have formed 17 International Culture Exchange Groups.  I have not yet started to form the USA only groups.  If you would like to be in a USA only group, please put USA only in your subject line along with your state.

If you are representing a country other than America and would like to be placed in more than 1 group, please let me know.  This is VERY do-able :)  Also, please spread the word about the exchange among your family and friends.  Having very diverse groups, makes this so fun and exciting.  I'm excited to have participants from the following countries:  France, Spain, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, Turkey, Argentina, Israel, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Austria, Poland, Italy, India, Philippines, Brazil, Canada, and the USA.

Thanks again to everyone who is participating!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thank You to Everyone Who Voted!

Emma won a bike!!!  We are SO excited for Emma and her family!  What a blessing this will be for this sweet girl!

Only 1 and Half Hours Left!

When you go to the Friendship Circle of Michigan FB page, click "like" then "Vote" and then look for this picture!  Check the vote box by Emma's picture. There's not much time left, and she is close to winning a bike!  Thank you!

Only 8 Hours Left...

Please go Vote for Emma!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Vote for Emma!!!

Please click on this fb page (Friendship Circle of Michigan) and vote for Emma!  She is a very special little girl who would love an adaptive bike for her 3rd birthday!!!  All you have to do is "like" the page, and then click on "vote".  Then find Emma's picture, and check the vote box under Emma's picture and her mom's name (Cassie).  You will be helping make a super sweet little girl and her parents very happy!  Here's is the write-up that is beside her picture...

Emma has CP and works so hard everyday. She always finds a way to laugh through the tears when her body aches or doesn't cooperate. An adaptive trike would give her some much needed freedom to move and to be the social little girl she is!

THank you!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

International Cultural Exchange Update

I've formed the 1st 10 international cultural exchange groups and have sent the emails to the participants!  So far, I've only put one American into each group, but I may need to form groups with just Americans.  Please let me know if you are willing to be a part of a USA exchange or if you only want to be a part of an international exchange.  Also, PLEASE put the country that you represent in your subject makes it SO much easier for me to organize the groups if I can quickly see the country of origin without having to click in to read the email.  THank you!

It's MRI Day!

We're about to go for Elliott's follow-up MRI.  I'm a little nervous, but fairly confident that it will be fine.  Tomorrow we find out the likelihood of tumor regrowth, and the plan if/when that happens...

More Cultural Exchange Information...

So, just to let you know how I'm setting up the cultural exchange (scroll down to previous posts if you don't know what I'm talking about)...

As I get the emails with your complete information (please send your info to, I am immediately forming the groups and sending out the emails with your group members names and addresses.  The group members should correspond via email to coordinate times that the packages should be sent and to discuss the specifics of the contents of the packages.

So far, I have many more Americans than anyone else.  I really don't want to put more than one American into each group, so I am forming the groups as soon as I get 3 non-Americans and then I am working my way up the list of Americans to add to the groups...the ones who emailed first will get first priority.

This seems to be a quick and easy way to organize the groups.  If it works as well as I'm hoping, I'll just keep organizing groups indefinitely.    Please link to the exchange on your blogs in order to get the word out...I really need more international participants!!!

Thank you!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

1st Exchange Group Created!

I've just created the first cultural exchange group and sent the email to the first 4 members!  We need more international participants (a lot more!), and please put your country in the subject line of the email.  Thank you!

Cultural Exchange!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's time!  I've been telling everyone for more than 6 months that the next cultural exchange would start around February, but we got derailed by Elliott's brain tumor.  So, now it's time!!!   Here's how it will go...

I will group people into groups of 4.  Each person (family) will send out 3 packages and will receive 3 packages to their group members from around the world.

Each package should include the following:

- a letter from a child describing his/her life in his/her country...favorite foods, sports, activities, religious activities, daily schedule, school, vacations...anything that you or your child think would be interesting to a child in another country.

- Pics of your child in his home, etc.  You don't have to send close-up face pics if you are not comfortable doing so.

- Postcards, stamps, coins,

- craft, coloring sheets, small toys or games, small books

- cds of your child's favorite music or books on cd (we received several of these and LOVE them)

- recipes, pics of food specific to your region

- anything else that you think would be fun for a child to receive

PLEASE do not sign up if you do not intend to send any packages!!!!   In the last exchange we sent 19 packages (WAY too many and it was very overwhelming), and only received 15.   We want everyone to receive the same number that they send, especially since the groups are smaller this time.

If you would like to participate please email me at  Please send your name and address and your child's name and age.

I'm hoping to organize the groups as I receive the emails rather than waiting to get all of the names and arranging the groups.  I think (hope) it will be more manageable this way.  Please make sure to email me at the cultural exchange address and not my typical email address.   Please ask questions in the comments section, but send your information via email only!

Click here to see our posts about our cultural exchange packages and cultural activities.


Edit to add:  45 minutes in and we have LOTS of Americans and only 1 international participant!  International readers we NEED you!!!!   PLEASE sign up for the exchange.  It's fun!  I promise!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Free Homeschooling Materials for Mother's Day!

Homeschool Buyer's Co-op is offering 1 free homeschooling product to homeschooling member mother's for Mother's Day!  I just ordered an Evan-Moor Ocean Thematic Unit e-book that the girls and I will have fun with this summer.

Joining Homeschool Buyer's Co-op is free and if you put Cheerios in as your referral code, I'll earn a small bounty when you make your first purchase!  Go check it out here!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It's a Beautiful Life...

Elliott's time off from work following his brain tumor removal surgery is coming to an end, and we have been enjoying our family time together...

Flying kites from our boat

Baiting a hook and going fishing

Nature walks

Hugging trees



Exploring our cultural exchange package from Scotland

Finding extra large lily pads

and so much more!  It's a beautiful life.

We are hoping and praying for good news next week when Elliott has his MRI and follow-up appt with his neurosurgeon.  We are hopeful that brain tumors and MRIs are a things of our past and not of our futures.