Happy Halloween!

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This Halloween, my daughter dressed up as a Greek goddess and my son dressed up as the 11th Doctor.

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This is how the kids decorated our trunk for last night’s trunk or treat.

Tonight my daughter is going to a church dance and the rest of us are just hanging out. I doubt we’ll get many trick-or-treaters at our apartment door, but we have some candy on hand just in case. We’ve been watching from our collection of Halloween movies all week. We always save The Nightmare Before Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! for Halloween night.

Wishing you a safe and fun Halloween!

Our Cactus Unit Study

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This has been a fun unit study for us and I’m so happy I can finally post about it. It all started with a family field trip to the Desert Museum. I instructed Marcus to choose three types of cactus to study.

He chose the popular or maybe I should say, famous, Saguaro (sa-wahr-o) cactus, the rare, Golden Torch cactus and the California Fire Barrel.

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At the Desert Museum we bought this book to contribute to our unit study. It’s called, Desert Giant, by Barbara Bash, and it’s a Reading Rainbow book. We also used the internet to find facts about these three cacti. Here are some of the sites we came across: The Desert Museum has a fun website which was helpful. I love these interactive pages: Click here and here. We also used Cacti Guide.

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Marcus put all his facts together in a mini flip book he created out of large index/recipe cards, a hole punch and binder rings.

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Then he created his own desert diorama featuring all three cacti and some rubber critters from the dollar store.

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My favorite is our desert wall scene. We all helped make it from poster board, construction paper and clip art. I found the free clip art critters (toad, scorpion and snake) here.

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My daughter drew the owl in the hole.

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And that’s our cactus study unit!

Halloween Mod Podge Fun

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No surprise here, if you follow my blog. We couldn’t let a Halloween go by without one Mod Podge craft. 🙂

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Here’s what we started out with: one cardboard pumpkin and one cardboard witch hat, one roll of textured orange paper and several sheets of black and gray printed craft paper, all purchased from Michaels. Then of course we had our Mod Podge and a foam brush. After setting up your work station, tear the paper into 2 inch strips and tear each strip into 2-3″ squares or rectangles (the size of the torn paper really doesn’t matter; just keep in mind that smaller pieces are easier to work with than bigger).

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I only took pictures of Marcus creating his pumpkin, but the process was the same for both the pumpkin and the witch hat. Since Mod Podge is both a glue and a sealant, you use it on both the surface of the object you’re covering, and over the paper (or other material) that you’re using. It dries clear.

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My kids ended up using both their brushes and their fingers, but Mod Podge is like Elmer’s glue when you clean up. It just peels off your fingers and washes off your skin with soap and water. We found it helpful to protect the table surface with plastic art mats we bought from the dollar store (or use newspaper). You will probably want to change out the surface for drying. It dries in a couple of hours.

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And here are the finished products!

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I loved the paper combination my daughter chose for her witch hat. She used four different prints. She did trim some of her pieces with scissors for a cleaner edge look.

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My son only used one textured paper for his pumpkin, plus a little bit of brown scrapbook paper for the stem. We love the look of the white edges, which is caused by tearing the paper.

Autumn Care Package

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You’ve probably heard/seen the idea of creating a box of sunshine or a box of cheer by filling a package with only yellow items. It’s definitely cheerful. Of course Pinterest is full of pictures of sunshine care packages.

I was thinking this would be a fun idea for my two college kids, but Marcus reminded me that his big brother’s favorite color is green, not yellow. So that gave me the idea to incorporate the colors of Autumn, which could include green. So, off to the dollar store and Target I went and then last night I decorated the inside flaps of the box and carefully arranged the items I had bought and ta-da! Here’s what I ended up with:

Each package is small because it’s a dollar store box, but I was able to pack a lot of items in it, including cans of flavored almonds, a bag of beef jerky, a bag of caramel apple popcorn, mini box of Goldfish crackers, a box of candy corn, Reese’s Halloween peanut butter cups, four different kinds of m&m’s, a small bag of Cheetos, an orange acorn shaped sticky note pad, fun chip clips that look like a ladybug, bee and frog and Pip Squeak markers in collectible characters (from the Dollar Tree).

By the way, Happy Back to the Future Day!

Sharing 3 Fun Links

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I hope everyone is having a lovely autumn. Here at Happy Hearts we are in the middle of a cactus/desert study which I’ll be sharing about in an upcoming post. Marcus has been busy making a desert diorama and Marissa and I have been busy making a desert scene on our dining/homeschool room wall.

Today I came across three fantastic links/resources I’d like to share with you:

Science-

This link will take you to a video that would be awesome to share with your kids. It’s an actual scale model of our solar system!

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Math-drills.com features free printable Halloween worksheets. I’ve printed out some fun geometry ones where my kids can make Cartesian grid art.

Unit Study-

I love The Nightmare Before Christmas! Jill, over at Enchanted Homeschooling Mom, has created a free The Nightmare Before Christmas movie study! How cool is that? Check it out here.

Have you come across any great links/resources lately? I’d love to hear about them.

Trying to Be Like Jesus

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This song sums up the unspoken theme at church today. My husband and I both gave talks in Sacrament meeting (our family meeting where we partake of the sacrament). My talk was on Christ-like patience. His talk was on Christ-like love. I wrote a little about my talk on my family blog, here. Then in our Gospel Principles class (Sunday School), we discussed Christ-centered homes.

Some of my thoughts:
The key to Christ-like patience is love more than anything else. If we want to be more patient with our spouses and our children, if we want to be more patient with our neighbors and our friends, if we want to be more patient with strangers, or even ourselves, than we need only to love them as our Savior loves them.

We can demonstrate Christ-like love when we see one another as children of God and remember that we are God’s hands here on earth. We are all in this life together so we should lift one another up and help bare one another’s burdens.

We can create Christ-centered homes by praying together as a family, spending quality time together as a family, working, learning and growing together as a family, and by following our Savior’s perfect example of unconditional love, ready forgiveness, patience and compassion. When we teach of Christ in our homes and try to live as He did, than our homes become a safe-haven from the storms of the world.

Sunday Quotes (My favorites from General Conference)

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One of my favorite talks from this General Conference was by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, whose tribute to mothers moved me to tears. He also said, “To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, ‘Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are.'”

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I loved how Elder M. Russell Ballard used the imagery of a ship, with our Heavenly Father at the helm, steering us in the direction of our eternal home.

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It was a joy to hear from our prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, who spoke of ways we can be the light of Christ. He also said: “The words we use can lift and inspire, or they can harm and demean. … May we follow the example of the Savior, who spoke with tolerance and kindness throughout His ministry.”

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You can read the summaries of each marvelous talk from General Conference, here. It was truly a delight to listen to each message and to be introduced to three new apostles. You can read about who they are, here.