Happy Easter Weekend 2013!

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With my Easter girl on a beautiful California Sunday afternoon!

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With my Kd Horne at our aunt and uncle’s house


Kd and our cousin Beth’s daughter Chelsea—her first Easter!


Chels-Bells and Katie-Girl… next generation!


Eric decided he wanted a nap and let me know…I helped him get settled on the couch, and then he put himself to sleep! Never had a child that asked for naps before. 😉


The Easter Bunny brought the kiddos one chocolate bunny apiece, five tiny Cadbury creme eggs hidden in plastic eggs around the house, two DVDs, a Slip-N-Slide, and books galore. Oh, and plastic bunny plates for breakfast. The Easter Bunny is a nerdy health nut in our house. 😉 Katie loves her Magic Tree House chapter books. She read two chapters aloud out of one of them to Eric and me this afternoon. Big girl!

Our big experiment this year:

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Easter eggs colored with natural dyes. I had been researching this for a couple of months, and the rustic colors are pleasing to me. I thought it might also be fun for the kiddos to experiment with the way vegetables and spices create different colors, just something different and a way to start thinking about making their own paints (a science/art activity we have scheduled in our upcoming Renaissance unit I’ve been working on putting together). The eggs came out better than I expected, and we love them so much that this might be our new tradition!

We used techniques from Eating Well magazine, though we did make some modifications (not fully straining the turmeric, covering the onion skins completely with water instead of using just two cups, etc). And although we got a later start on Saturday afternoon (I was at the store before the kiddos got up on Saturday morning, restocking after coming home from SF on Friday night, and then we had Katie’s first soccer game of the season, and then Easter presents with my parents), and although we did not quite steep the dyes for a full two hours, they seemed to work out for us. We left the eggs in the dyes for a few hours and then dried them in the fridge overnight.

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The experiment begins! Yellow onion skins (orange), red cabbage (robin’s egg blue), turmeric (yellow), red onion skins (khaki), and beets (violet-reddish-pink)

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Our lab-meets-art playing space!

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Eric helps with the onion skins


A close-up of the dyes, which were fairly vibrant in the bowl


Coloring their eggs

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The final product on Easter morning

happy easter

Happy Easter 2013


soccer goal


One of the highlights of Katie’s weekend was meeting her new soccer coach and playing her first game of the spring season. She scored two goals during the game, and this picture shows her exuberance after the second one. I love that she has found something that strikes her passion, and I love that she has remembered so much from fall season. It was at her initiation that we signed up for this spring season, and she has been excited for it to start ever since fall. One of the best parts of being a parent is watching my children enjoy themselves as they pursue different passions and interests.

Today, Monday, we are back at school. Bill still has a week left of Spring Break, but River Springs had a whole week off in February so our two weeks were split up. I didn’t quite hit the ground running, since I was gone most of last week, have been nursing a cold, and was busy all weekend, but by 9:00 AM we actually were breaking into our Renaissance unit and turning the gears. Although I have done KWLs before as part of our “into the unit” methods, I actually used a “heard of it/never heard of it/could explain a little bit about it” self-reflection chart for Katie as read through a list of ideas/terms I want her to know really well by the end of the unit. She LOVED this. We talked a long time about how we do not ever approach learning thinking that we need to be able to explain/know everything right away. We have to take stock of what we know and what we don’t, and what we need to find out more about. I told her that our goal is to see how many of the “heard of” and “never heard of” ideas we could move over into the “could explain it” column by the end of the unit. Learning is about identifying what we want to know and then going out and collecting that information… when I said it that way, her eyes lit up. For the first time, I think, she understood at a deeper level what relationship her father and I want her to have with knowledge and with herself. Knowledge is never going to be perfect, but being interested and self-reflective is an ongoing and beautiful process. We do not have to be AFRAID of not knowing. I saw her whole mental world open up this morning. It was cool. Reflective learning is cool. Getting to witness these moments in her metacognitive life as her mother and her teacher is beyond cool.

Eric worked on counting and matching upper and lower case letters. This latter activity caused him to retire to the cozy chair with his thumb and favorite blankies: today he was definitely not liking that some upper and lower case pairs look different from one another. He kept pointing to letters like “C” and “w” and saying, “These sim-lar.” But Bs? Ns? Es? “These not sim-lar. Me not like these!” I know, Eric, English is very convoluted, sir! When he finally did get down from his chair, he went over to his math box and asked to change activities. Otherwise, he really loves all of our pre-reading sequencing work (What picture comes before in this series? Which picture would come after and complete the story?)

Now that I am (almost) over my cold, I need to get back into my/our routine tomorrow morning. My legs are itching for a run, and I want to lay out some work for tomorrow.

Hope everyone had a great Spring Break and a beautiful Easter!