Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Giveaway: End of the Year Madness

Book Obsession is having a great book giveaway. This is a great time to check it out and find some fun reading for yourself to start the new year with. Just click the button below:


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Black Chasm Cavern

While visiting Volcano, California, we toured the Black Chasm Cavern which is a National Natural Landmark. The last time we toured here, Bode was a baby and had to stay back with grandma, so it was fun to have the whole family along. This was also my parents first tour, so that was an added treat. It is nestled in Amador County in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This area is also surrounded by gold rush country, so there are many other historical landmarks to visit.

We went on the walking tour, which lasted a little less than an hour, and was the right amount of time for the kids. Our tour group consisted of the seven of us and another couple. Our tour guide was great and with our small group we felt like we were getting a personal tour.

The caverns are amazing (and very cold). They include stalactites, stalagmites, flow stones, "cave bacon", "cave straws", an underground pool, and the largest collection of helictite crystals in the world, which are what the caverns are famous for.

Heading down to the first room: It had stalactites, stalagmites, and a column, along with some other very cool crystals. Some of the larger stalactites and stalagmites had been cut out by previous explorers of the cave before it became a National Landmark, but we could still see how large they had been.


Heading further down: We were able to see down to the underground pool, which quite far down. The guide estimated that the pool was 60 feet deep. From the steps going down we were able to see all the way down to the pool and up to the ceiling of the cavern.

Zoomed-in view of the underground pool

Lastly we headed into the large Landmark Room. This room included a huge collection of helictite crystals, which is what the caverns are famous for. The helictite crystals are formed by pressure. Normally caverns don't have anywhere near this amount of helictite crystals. Helictite crystals are only found in 5% of all caves. This is the largest collection in the world. The collection was quite fascinating to see so close-up.

Part of the huge room

Flow stone - looks like ice cream

Look at all the helictites

Helictite close-up

Landmark room ceiling
We couldn't hang out in the cavern without some family pictures.

Family fun

Grampa & Gramma

The boys in front of the helictites.
Heading back out of the cavern we got a different view of how large the cavern was.

Black Chasm Cavern was a great visit for our family.

Christmas Countdown Chain

At the beginning of the month, the boys made a Christmas Countdown Chain. These ring chains are fairly common. But thanks to an idea in our Christmas Adventure series we're using, we added scriptures to each day. The kids enjoyed putting the scriptures on the rings. Then each day they cut a ring off (each boy has his own color) and read the scripture out loud. It just adds one more spiritual aspect to the month, keeping the focus on Jesus and God's word as they eagerly anticipate Christmas.

All we needed was: construction paper (3 colors for 3 boys) cut into strips, Bible scriptures printed and cut out (or you could handwrite them on each chain), glue sticks, and staples/stapler (we used green ones - more festive). Simple yet effective. The kids enjoy the scriptures on these rings everyday.

The boys are hard at work :)

Ta-Da! Let the countdown begin!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"F" is for Ferdinand Lapbook

Bode enjoyed reading The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf for the letter F. Being that Bode is typically like the other bulls in the story, being a rough and tumble kind of boy with his two big brothers, it was nice for him to read the gentler side of life.

Lapbook Activity Resources:
Homeschool Share: The Story of Ferdinand lapbook templates
Homeschool Creations: Cut and paste, Do-a-dot
Enchanted Learning: Circle the F words, I can color F words
Beginning Reading: Circle F and f
Confessions of a Homeschooler: Handwriting Worksheet, F patterns

I forgot to take pictures of Bode while we worked on the lapbook, but here's the finished product.
Finished Lapbook:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Krispy Christmas Trees

The evergreen tree is always green, always alive, the symbol of life, like our eternal life with Christ. Christmas trees point heavenward, reminding us of the love of God and Jesus, whose birth is the reason we are celebrating this season.

This idea was inspired by the Christmas Adventure study series we're doing this month, by Scripture Adventures (see here).

Oh the joys of sugar during the holidays. As if Rice Krispy Treats weren't sugary enough, we decided to upgrade their sugar content by adding frosting and M&Ms to make them into Christmas trees. Yummy! All we needed were rice krispy treats cut into triangles, green frosting, and M&Ms. Of course we could have used more to decorate with, but we were keeping it simple. Ian helped make the treats, and of course all the boys helped decorate them (including hubbie).

Bode's creations

Cole's treats

Ian's masterpieces
And daddy all sugared-up