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!


Walking through the woods at Ashland.......

Climbing our favorite tree....a beautiful, Japanese Maple.

Making yummy, healthy treats to share with friends. Leah's sweet hands.

Carving Jack-O-Lanterns.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A trip to Millers......

On Friday, we took our quarterly (or so) trip to Millers' natural food of my favorite places. It is an Amish run natural food electricity, gorgeous scenery, lots of horse and buggies.....and super prices on bulk grains, seeds, and dried fruits. Always a wonderful time!

I spent a lot of money! $277 to be exact. But, is this really a lot of money??? It seems so when I am writing the check to pay them (and by the way, I love that I can't use my debit card there). I bought lots of organic flours, seeds, nuts, and dried fruits, not to mention a case of organic bananas (much cheaper than buying bunches and bunches). These ingredients will become our smoothies in the morning, our bread and seed butters for lunch, and delicious stews and soups for winter dinners.

I make almost everything homemade, and I love it! I know exactly what I put in our food and what went into making it and even who had their hands in it (me and my children!). So, it might be a whopping $277 for groceries for one day....but think of the savings as I am buying so very little processed food (we all love tortilla chips and some other staples that I haven't tried making yet). Instead of boxes of cereal (bad for the earth, bad for you!), we make our cereal with cheap organic oats ($.85 a pound!) and lots of nutritious toppings. The savings is there, not to mention our health!

(Warning: I will now step onto my soapbox :)
I have been amazed and astounded lately as I see what some people eat! When Maddie was attending school, she would talk about the children who bring "Lunchables." I fully believe that these "lunches" should be against the law! The list of ingredients is as long as the Constitution and just as confusing! :) I always say to my children, "If you don't know what it means, don't eat it!" We also talk about how all food comes from the sun. If you can't trace it back to the sun, don't eat it!

When we are out and about, I see children eating crackers filled with hydrogenated oils, fast food (heaven help me!), artificially colored stuff (WHY???), and other "food" items that are not nourishing and actually harmful! What happened that we think this is the way to feed our children????

Yesterday, while we were watching the Addams Family at my parents' house (a Halloween special), there were commercials. My children are not used to seeing commercials because the only shows that they ever watch are on public tv or a tape. So, they were mesmerized....and I was feeling very critical. As you watch these commercials, it actually makes you feel like goldfish crackers are a healthy choice to feed to your children (and that Lysol bleach is the best thing to clean your even said that it was "pediatrician recommended".....WHAT???). They really make it convincing! It actually makes me (sort of) understand why some people think that cheerios for breakfast, luncheables for lunch, and frozen dinners for dinner are healthy. I said, sort of.

Ok....I'll get off of my soapbox! This is obviously an area that I feel passionate about!

Here, instead, are some pictures of the WHOLE foods that we purchased at Millers and one of the yummy, healthy foods that I CREATED (key word, I think) when we got home.

Happy, healthy noshing, everyone!

Three of the many bags that we purchased at, raw pumpkin seeds, organic coconut, and organic sunflower seeds.....YUM!

Delicious granola made from the organic oats, raisins, and seeds from Millers, along with some of Walt's delicious honey!
Always must walk on the wall on the way into Millers. A must! :)

A very bad picture of a very good thing.....raw, organic pumpkin seeds! Delish and nutrish!