Weekend Family Fun

Standard

We had a mini family vacation this past weekend, in downtown Salt Lake City. Here are the highlights-

pizap.com14380502949501

We stayed at a hotel near City Creek Center. There were lovely fountains there. We did a little shopping, too.

pizap.com14380468233431

Early Friday morning, the kids staked us out a spot for the Days of 47 parade. July 24th is a holiday here in Utah. It’s Pioneer Day, a day to celebrate our pioneer ancestors.

FullSizeRenderT FullSizeRenderU

Halfway through the parade, Darcie fell asleep!

IMG_1539

My baby girl.

pizap.com14380527215911

Friday night we watched a Bee’s baseball game which ended with an awesome firework show.

On Saturday, we slept in before enjoying brunch at a local restaurant. Then we met up with friends and did some shopping before driving back home. All of this was an early celebration of Darcie’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Darcie Doll!

Nature Day!

Standard

Our last official day of Camp Musketeers was on Monday. It was Nature Day! The kids started off by making a craft.

FullSizeRender7

IMG_1439

I guess this was more of a recycling craft than a nature craft, but the kids enjoyed turning an empty plain can into something pretty and useful.

DSCN5636 DSCN5640

Afterwards, the kids went on a nature scavenger hunt. They each had a list of items to find, such as something bumpy, something they thought was pretty, something soft, something that makes noise, something red, etc. It was fun to see what each child gathered.

DSCN5642

Then we loaded up two cars and drove to a little zoo a half hour away.

DSCN5667

DSCN5670

My favorites animals at this small town zoo were the two reindeer.

DSCN5648

FullSizeRender

DSCN5710

DSCN5677

IMG_1387

It was a bright and sunny afternoon, so after the zoo we went for ice cream.

IMG_1421

Now, these cuties are back home with their mommy. It really was a joy to have them with us for ten days.

Weekend Fun

Standard

It has been such a joy to have four cousins in our home for the past six days. We told the kids this is summer camp and we’ve been following a routine, complete with yummy meals, story times, morning and night devotionals, with occasional movies in our theater room, crafts and games and a lot of outside play.

DSCN5625

DSCN5628

Saturday was Minecraft Day! It was the first and only time I allowed the boys to play with their Kindle-Fires. I thought they’d give me an argument about turning in their electronics at the start of camp, but they actually handed them over willingly and they’ve only missed them for a few minutes here and there. They’ve been waking up and playing a board game together in the morning instead of each reaching for his Kindle, and doing his own thing. I love the interaction that is going on as siblings and cousins.

FullSizeRender - Copy (2)

While the boys played Minecraft, the girls made these adorable sack puppets. There’s an elephant, parrot, frog, cow and lion.

firepit FullSizeRender

Saturday evening, the kids toasted hot dogs under the supervision of my oldest son who came home for the weekend. He walked in the door Saturday morning just as we had sat down to homemade waffles, which is a weekend tradition in our family.

DSCN5616

DSCN5614

DSCN5621

DSCN5619

On Sunday morning we all dressed up and went to church. The children were so reverent during sacrament meeting! We kept the youngest entertained with her doll, coloring book and Goldfish crackers. After church and a snack of chips and salsa, apple and orange slices, the kids each created a wagon as their Pioneer Day activity. (The last wagon broke down!)

FullSizeRender - CopyWe have really enjoyed having this little honey in our home. I miss having littles so this experience has truly been a blessing for me. I get to enjoy it for three more days.

Weekly Nutshell- Summer Camp Edition

Standard

This has been a crazy busy week and it’s not even over yet! We are hosting my sister’s four young children for several days. To make it an extra fun experience for them, we set up Camp Musketeers! Every day has its own fun theme.

DSCN5471

On Monday, the day before my nieces and nephews arrived, we got some chores done.

DSCN5474

Then we tried out our new fire pit by toasting hot dogs and making smores.

DSCN5488

We used Tuesday as a day to settle the kids in. The girls enjoyed some outside play time with chalk.

DSCN5492

The littlest one loves our neighbor’s horses!

DSCN5574

That night the two oldest boys went fishing with my son’s boy scout troop. My nephew was the only boy to catch a trout!

DSCN5580

Which Marcus had to cook as part of his merit badge requirements.

DSCN5581

Of course my picky boy wouldn’t try it, but my youngest nephew liked it just fine.

DSCN5502

Wednesday officially kicked off Camp Musketeers with Mad Scientist Day. First the boys shot off Marcus’ rocket.

DSCN5514

Then they experimented with magnets and made Elephant Toothpaste.

DSCN5518

That evening on the way to our city park to run off some energy, we spotted our neighbor’s colorful hot dog stand.

DSCN5519

Of course we had to support our neighbor’s new business! Besides, who can pass up bacon-wrapped hot dogs?

DSCN5525

Climbing fun.

DSCN5557

Thursday was Little Chef Day! The kids formed two teams and each decorated their cake in different kitchens (one upstairs, one downstairs). Team Triple Threat made a strawberry fantasy design.

DSCN5561

Dynamite Duo made a beach and ocean design. The judges declared it a tie.

DSCN5568

That evening for dinner each child made their own mini pizzas.

DSCN5591 DSCN5593

DSCN5603

FullSizeRender (2) - Copy FullSizeRender

Today (Friday) was Great Outdoors Day. We spent a good part of the day at an awesome park we recently discovered. The weather was perfect, only in the 70’s.

Canyon Fun

DSCN5459
Standard

One thing I have to give Utah, it has beautiful canyons that make for lovely drives and scenic picnic stops.

DSCN5426

DSCN5433

DSCN5437

DSCN5449 DSCN5452 DSCN5458 DSCN5467

DSCN5448

DSCN5457 DSCN5462

Curriculum Finds- Music Appreciation

Standard

I have always wanted to include music appreciation in our homeschool, but until now we have only skimmed over the topic. Mostly we’ve made homemade instruments and we did see The Nutcracker a few years ago, plus recently we enjoyed five Broadway musicals, including The Phantom of the Opera.

So I am excited for this upcoming Happy Hearts year because we are going to formally include a music curriculum for the first time. In fact, it just arrived yesterday on my doorstep. I was probably more excited than the kids to open the box and examine its contents.

7240412_orig

After researching and reading reviews, I chose Maestro Classics Stories in Music. These are children’s stories, such as, Peter and the Wolf, The Tortoise and the Hare, and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, brought to life through classical music performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. As an added bonus, each CD comes with a CD-size activity booklet, featuring tidbits about the composer and the instruments. After some deliberation I decided to splurge and order the entire twelve story collection. So far, I have no regrets. I am sure we’ll be very happy with this set.

Music Appreciation

I could’ve chosen another popular curriculum choice- Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades, by Elisabeth Tanner and Judy Wilcox, which I’ve read also works well for middle school ages, but the Maestro Classics appealed to me more.

th3154OJ8D

I did purchase, however, this little gem. I acquired it before I discovered Maestro Classics, but we have already begun to use it and it’s actually a neat book. The Story of the Orchestra, by Robert Levine, is a handy book for introducing four music eras and fifteen famous composers to children, as well as giving tidbits about several orchestra instruments. It includes a CD which features classical selections by each composer.

book_beatles

And then there is a series written and illustrated by Mike Venezia, entitled, Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers. There are fourteen little books altogether. We have only purchased The Beatles so far, just to check it out. It’s a quick read, but packed full of fascinating history, real photographs and fun cartoons. With this curriculum you’d have to find music selections yourself, but the books are fairly inexpensive, usually less than $7.00 each.

52

If you don’t have the budget for a music curriculum, check out these freebies-

52composers.com features nifty composer profile pages.

Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool includes free music studies. (Just scroll down until you see her music offerings in the column on the right).

What music curriculum have you used in your homeschool? I’d love to hear all about it in my comment section. :)

Weekly Nutshell

Standard

This counts for two weeks worth of highlights in a nutshell. ;) Marcus spent all of the last (full) week of June at a boy scout camp in Idaho. While he was having all sorts of scouting fun, Marissa-girl spent three days at a stake youth conference held at the University of Utah.

DSCN5268

I ended up on the food committee and delivered lunch to Marissa and the rest of the youth and leaders last Wednesday. I brought 300 sandwiches, cookies, chips and bottled water on ice, all packed in the back of my little SUV. Later that afternoon my sunglasses fell into a toilet! So I have bid farewell to those particular sunglasses, ha ha.

DSCN5315

Marissa visited the state capital during youth conference.

DSCN5339

The grand staircase in the state capital.

IMG_2261

IMG_2266

Fast forward to this past holiday weekend. On Friday, David took the kids to Cascade Springs while I spent some time with a close friend of mine at Lava Hot Springs. (That’s kind of funny when I think about it!).

DSCN5362

DSCN5424

On the evening of the 4th, we found a spot to sit and watch the annual cruising parade. We saw a lot of vintage/classic cars.

DSCN5415

DSCN5374

DSCN5400

In case you’re wondering, yes, we did finally start our Around the World in 80 Days geography unit. More on that to come. It was good to have David home this weekend. Now the kids and I need to prepare our house for a major upcoming event! We’re taking care of my sister’s young children for eight days in mid-July. We are going to treat that time like a camp, with themed days and lots of hands-on activities. Meanwhile, stay tuned for my planning post for Happy Hearts’ seventh homeschooling year. I’ve ordered a wonderful music curriculum that I’m really excited about. :)