Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Joy of Reading.....

Whenever we are around kids who attend school, I am always amazed at how reading for them is often a chore, part of their homework, instead of the joyful pursuit that it is for my children (and me!). I will hear parents say things like, "Did you do your 15 minutes of reading yet?" or I will hear children complaining that they have to read! And, I remember being in school.....the books that I didn't chose to read, passages in a reading book that didn't interest me but were supposed to teach me some or another important skill, the books that were required. I still loved to read, but only when I could choose my own book (of course!).

What a different scene in our house! My kids LOVE to read, hear me (or Mike, Maddie, or Amelia) read, and even listen to books on tape in the car. They literally beg me to go to the library! And you should see the scene if I say no. :) Books are a huge part of every day in our lives. So, here are a few pictures of us reading and enjoying books. I once saw this saying,
"So Many Books, So Little Time." I couldn't agree more!

Happy Reading!

Leah has been LOVING dogs lately. She takes out so many dog books each week and has been learning about different breeds and other cool stuff about dogs!

Amelia is enjoying Highlights magazine, which we get each month. It is such a wonderful day when this magazine arrives.

Here are SOME of our returns last week. Maddie and Amelia take out tons of books each week (sometimes biweekly) and they read each and every one.

Some of my favorite books are cookbooks. I love to read them while I am in the kitchen. I also LOVE the day that Mother Earth News comes in the mail!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Snowy Day....

I got this random e-mail yesterday titled, "What to do with your kids so that they won't become bored at home in all of this snow." Are you kidding me??? Bored? At home? Home is where my kids long to be....all of the time. In fact, sometimes, I have trouble getting them out the door.
Here is a glimpse of what our home was like during our blizzard yesterday.

While the snow piled up outside, (just look at our gate buried in the snow!)

Amelia had to do the hourly measurement with the yardstick (20+ inches on top of 25 inches!),

while Leah took some self portraits with my camera,

Ben played on his favorite, Club Penguin,

and I tried a new recipe from a favorite cookbook.

Meanwhile, Mike and Amelia worked on her snap circuit kit,

and we found lots of time to play games (Monopoly, Monopoly Jr., Cooties, etc.).

I just love when Leah and Ben take these amazing photographs! Their perspective is perfect!

Ben took some time to create a truck for his dog. I love how he used empty ribbon spools to create the wheels!

And Maddie decided to create a bag to hold all of her tap essentials (after not having a brush and holder with her this week).

And I continuously watch my little lettuce plants grow and dream of the spring day when I am harvesting them for a fresh salad!

Hope your day was filled with passion chasing too! :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Homemade Holiday

Our family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, in a very cultural way. Mike grew up Catholic, and I grew up Jewish. Now, we attend a Unitarian Universalist Church, which suites our family and the way that we want to raise our children.

Anyways, celebrating all of these holidays involves lots of gift giving, all at a time when I am trying to simplify our belongings and declutter our home. So, we decided that Hanukkah would be completely homemade. What fun this ended up being! Maddie, in particular, immediately generated a list of people that she needed to make gifts for, thought about what each person would like, and got to work creating! Mike spent his share of time down in the basement working with wood and creating a fabulous work bench for the children (and something for Aunt Jen and Uncle Adam, which they will receive on Sun!), and I spent a lot of time in our new sewing room. I made a fleece blanket, an embroidered bag, and a stuffed animal for each of our children, a quilt for my mom, and other various gifts. There were also home dipped beeswax candles and ornaments, canned applesauce from a local orchard, yummy cookies, scarves, bags, drawings and paintings, bracelets, ...... all in all, a wonderful experience and the beginning of a new tradition.

But, Santa is another story. I worried that he and his elves would bring more of the toys that we are trying to stay away from. I was pleasantly surprised this morning.....his elves did a wonderful job of knowing our family's wishes! It was a quiet Christmas day (no battery operated toys!) filled with new crafts and hobbies....wood working for everyone, more bead work for Maddie, painting for Ben, a snap circuit for Amelia, and lots of dog related things for Leah to fuel her new passion. Thankfully, there was lots of time for sledding too!

It has been a lot of work (and some headaches late at night when my eyes hurt from staring at fabric).....but it was worth it. Our goal of simplicity in the new year has already begun!

My hands guiding my mom's quilt through the machine.

Oh, and a big thank you to my parents....who really listened when I said no more plastic dolls, battery operated cars, etc. Instead, we are seeing the Wizard of Oz tomorrow, the Philadelphia Orchestra in the winter, and The Lion King on Broadway (CAN'T WAIT!!!) in May. Thanks, mom and dad....for listening to my wishes and for all of the thoughtful gifts!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Art 101

I love art museums (ok...museums, in general)! So, it really drives me crazy to hear homeschoolers (not unschoolers, mind you) talking about trying to fulfill an art "requirement!" This should not be a task at all, as I see it. It is FUN to visit art museums and to create artwork at home. And, we are so fortunate to live near a really wonderful, small art museum....the Brandywine River Museum. What a beautiful place to spend a morning (and into the afternoon as it turned out...yeah for having no schedule!). Our local museum is filled with fabulous art work, especially from the Wyeths, wonderful childrens' programs, and a beautiful river to hang around after our visit. I mean, really, you can't come to the Brandywine River Museum without hanging out on Miss Gratz and Helen, the resident cow and pig statues that reside outside of the museum and beckon my children to climb on them! :)

A view of the river on this dreary and beautiful November day. One thing that I love is viewing the river in all seasons. In the summer and warm months, we picnic out here (ok, we actually picnic year round, even at times in the snow or rain), in the fall, we view the leaves turning crimson, and in the winter, we see the shadows of the leafless branches in the water. We notice how the current is moving, and we always know if it has rained a lot from the level of the river. We definitely feel at home out here.

My lens was partially covered in this picture, though I think it looks pretty neat this way. Here, all four of my explorers are sitting on Miss Gratz, the cow.

Another beautiful view of the river, with a railroad trestle in the distance.

I feel so lucky to live in the Brandywine Valley! After spending a fun morning at this museum, we took a small detour on the way home through the Brandywine Battlefield, where Washington's troops fought (and lost) a battle against General Howe and the British troops on Sept. 11, 1777. Very cool stuff!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

November 12th in Pictures

Our resident computer expert.....Amelia!

Fashions for Felicity by Maddie!

Lots of Guess Who? playing with Ben and Leah.

A successful trip to the dentist in the morning led to the acquisition of these vampire teeth.
Self-photography by Ben.

Of course, there was also quilt and blanket making, reading, dancing, webkinz playing, jewelry making, healthy eating, and a trip to the library.
All in all, a beautiful day!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Follow Your Passions......

In our house, we spend our days "Chasing our Passions!" So, here are some of our current passions.....

Mike has started brewing his own beer! His first batch was just bottled and so far it tastes great! We also are fermenting some local apple cider...lots of fun and good gifts for our "Handmade Holiday!"

Books are a passion for all of us in the Rehrman household! Amelia is very passionate about "Katy Kazoo" books, Maddie is enjoying the "Animal Ark" series, Ben and Leah love just about anything that I read to them especially the Arthur books and anything about ducks (for Leah). I am loving "Water for Elephants," and Mike is finally working through (my favorite) Harry Potter series.

We are especially passionate about each other! I LOVE spending each day with my children. What a gift!!!!

I have always been passionate about cooking and eating good and healthy food. Now, I am convinced that to keep the "piggy flu" away, we must feed nothing but healthy food into our bodies! Here is some beautiful swiss chard that I bought from our neighbor, who has a greenhouse. I normally would have this coming from our own garden, but the deer got there before we could! :)

I combine that beautiful swiss chard with ground flax seeds, goji berries, blueberries, cherries, bananas, and anything else that seems yummy and healthy to create a FABULOUS smoothie! Ben, in particular, drinks this ALL DAY! You know what they say? A smoothie a day keeps the doctor away!

Spending time laughing and reading on the sofa. What a way to pass the day!

And I leave you with Ben! He was taking pictures of himself under the blanket for a LONG time! This was the funniest of the bunch. What a spirit that boy has!

So, chase your passions! Let all the wonders of the beautiful world be your teachers! Long live life learners!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Scrabble Time

Amelia and I like to play Scrabble. It's been amazing, really, to watch Amelia spell. She is a wonderful speller, though she does not love to read (incidentally, she IS a great reader). Let me clarify....she doesn't love to read books (except joke books!). She loves to read anything on the computer! She is WILD about the computer! And, because of this passion, she is wild about spelling and typing (and she is darn good, too).

So, today, when she wanted to play Scrabble, I got excited. It is really fun to play first games like Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land with your children. But, for me, I REALLY enjoy playing games like Scrabble, Monopoly, Mancala, and Sorry! It is so much fun! And, as with everything, the learning that comes with each of these games is extraordinary. Today, Amelia was using a calculator to keep score, doing mental math, using a dictionary, not to mention creating really cool words....her highest scoring word was "Ninja." :)

I'm so glad that my children are not learning dictionary skills by being forced to look up words on a worksheet. Much more fun (and REAL) to play Scrabble!