Friday, November 5, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lupine Summer Camp

During the summer months we don't meet every Monday as we do through the year. This gives us a chance to refresh and have a change of pace. As much as we like the break from our regular routine, we miss being together! So, twice over the summer we have summer camp days! 
Check out some of our silly summer fun.

Pie Eating Contests

Thank goodness for the tarp on the lawn.


Making seed balls with clay and wildflower seeds

Making ice cream in baggies and shake, shake, shaking them up.

Loose, less structured lazy summer days

Scrap creations: We all brought various odds and ends from our homes, you know the kind...buttons, bottle caps, fabric scraps, acorns...and then we just...created!

And when it got too hot...we hit the pool! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Not-Back-To-School-But-Back-To-Lupines Gold Rush Camping Trip

September, 2010
For our annual Lupines not-back-to-school-but back-to-Lupines camping trip, we set off for the Gold Rush Country. 

Last years camping trip was at Memorial Park and was such fun. This year a few of us decided to head for the hills. The Gold Rush hills.

For our Gold Rush experience we choose Marshall's State Park in Coloma. This was not the rustic camping experience we were expecting, but it was literally right across the street, walking distance from all the history of the time frame we are planning to study this year for 4th grade history.

When Jeremy was in 4th grade, I never did manage to get him to the Gold Rush Country. I know we did many other rich and valuable activities, but I still feel a bit guilty around that. Sigh.  Do you ever experience parental guilt?

So, Kasey gets it right on time, and Jeremy, in the 8th grade gets to soak it up as well. Better late than never, as they say.

Kasey and Anna step back in time. Love the expression on their faces!

 We had some great adventures on the water of the American River. At one point, all six of us were in an inflatable boat made for four, floating down the river shooting the rapids (we had assessed the severity of the rapids before we made this attempt) but it did get a bit rougher, than at least I imagined! We got very wet, had to bail water out of the bottom of our boat with our gold pan saucers (those pans are so useful!) on more than one occasion and were hoarse from screaming, yelling and laughing. At one point, when we were stuck on a group of rocks and were bailing water furiously, I looked up to see several kayaks going by us with looks of....surprise (horror?) on their faces. Ha! At least I knew they were keeping an eye on us. Wink, wink. When we finally paddled to shore to play on the beach for a bit and have a lunch of everything left over from our camp...there were cries form all of us..."Let's do that again!"

Kasey and Anna soaking up the sun

Jeremy and J.D. rigging up some contraption

Gold Panning

Learning to pan for Gold (and Garnets too!)
Oh boy, did it feel good to have our hands in the cool water. It was hot, hot, hot!

I wonder what our camping trip will be next year?

Next up: Our first day as a group back to Lupines!

Do you homeschool in the San Francisco Bay Area? Would you like information about Lupine Family Homeschoolers? Ask away!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Homeschool Mamas Planning Meeting -Update

The mamas of our teen kids (our 'seniors') met yesterday to plan out our year a bit more. It was a great meeting with lots of ideas and sharing of skills. We now have September through December mostly planned out with a few spots to fill in with detail, as well as the rest of the year roughly sketched out.

The seniors will have a teacher to work with half day for the rest of the year. Starting with film making for the months of September through November, they will make a film from start to finish. Come January they move into a movement class with a trained Waldorf teacher for a six week block of games and movement. Next, I am going to look into a drama teacher with the idea of  putting on a Shakespeare play come spring.

For the seniors afternoon block, the parents jump in. They will prepare for our annual Halloween Haunted House in the months of September and October with the help of Lupine Dad extraordinaire David. December will bring us just a couple of weeks of holiday fun and then  moving into January we have sketched out some classes such as : Poetry, Shakespeare exploration, entrepreneurial-ship and moving out into the community more. (We are not sure what that is going to look like yet but it is a seed we are planting to see what grows)

Stay with us to see what develops as we grow along with our teens and strive to create a learning environment which meets their needs, and ours too!

I will continue to post not only records of our days, but updates to our planning and community happenings. We are currently looking for teen boys to join us on our adventure so if you are interested contact me HERE.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Getting Ready For A New Lupine Year: 2010 & 2011

We have had a couple of great Lupine Camp Days this summer, and we just closed up our last one today. I am feeling so great about this upcoming year. Friends for my kids, for myself, lots of learning and lots of just plain fun!
I hope to post some photos of our summer camps soon and let you know what is on the agenda for fall 2010...check back, and do consider joining us!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The May Pole High!

What a Fun May Day!

As the families arrived, each with a bounty of cut flowers, the teens prepared for chemistry class and the flowers were loaded onto the picnic table. Nasturtiums, lavender, daisies, lilies, more than I can recall. It was so beautiful and brought such a festive feeling to the morning! A few of the teens stole over to make a few bouquets of their own, they just couldn't resist...until they were called over to class. Then the junior gang all set to work. This year the kids made not only the baskets of flowers but really cute little button flowers to add to the bouquets. We found this cute addition to our craft at Family Fun.

Here are the girls, busy at creating. So many flowers to choose from. How do you decide?

Making the baskets....

Choosing the flowers.....

And the main event! We had a rousing time of May Pole dancing. Can you hear the flute? 
Here we go round the May Pole high, the May Pole high, the May Pole high,
Here we go round the May Pole high
On a Monday afternoon!

Look how well we are doing with weaving the ribbons round the pole. We were so proud.

After our May Pole fun, we had another yummy potluck. I shared a yummy and healthful strawberry shortcake. Here it is:

  • 8 C organic strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 C honey, agave, maple syrup or sucanat
  • 2 C whole wheat, spelt or oat flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/4 C butter or coconut oil
  • 2 T of above sweetener of choice
  • egg
  • 3/4 C milk (soy, hemp, rice, almond etc)
  • Topping: Vanilla yogurt or fresh whipped creme
  • Can be egg free - Use 1/4 C milk to replace egg or 1 T flax oil
  • Can be vegan
  • Can be wheat free
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 450 F
    2. Stir together strawberries & 1/4 sweetener (can be dry or wet)
    3. Set aside
    4. For Biscuits: Stir together flour, baking powder & salt in a large mixing bowl
    5. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs
    6. In a small bowl combine egg, liquid sweetener and milk
    7. Add to dry ingredients & stir to moisten
    8. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown
    9. Split biscuits, fill & top with fruit & topping.
    10. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Homeschoolers Celebrate Spring in Style!

We had our annual Lupine Family Homeschoolers Spring Celebration on March 29th and I bring you our photo journal of the day. The weather was a bit iffy, but luckily we did not have to have our egg hunt indoors with 17 kids!

 I just enjoy this process so much, even though we have done it for what? Nine, ten years in a row? It just makes for such a lovely afternoon, and we all end the day with a bounty of beautiful and unique eggs to take home; every year they are different. I save some eggs for eating, and put several in a bowl for my spring alter. Oddly enough, they never go bad!

 Each family arrived with at least one dozen raw eggs. Each mom was in charge of bringing supplies for  one of the dye baths. Karen brought red cabbage (which did not work this year, last year it was the beets that did not work?), Stephanie yellow onion skins, Lily brought  coffee, Carol turmeric and I provided blueberries. As everyone arrived, we set the pots up and threw the produce, spices and plants into them, added the water and vinegar and then invited the kids to come in help add their eggs. The eggs bubbled in the pots while we then worked on setting up the egg crafting project and the egg hunts.
The senior gang after hiding the eggs for the juniors. (The gal in the middle is NOT one of the seniors, she just likes to hang out with them ;)

The moms prep the dye baths.

Blueberries, cabbage, onions and turmeric.

This is the first year we tried coffee. It worked really well, and we got a fantastic orange by double dipping it into turmeric afterwards.

The Eggs
The finished eggs. We divvied them all up to take home and enjoy.

The Egg Decorating
At the very same time as all the commotion was taking place in the kitchen, outside in the courtyard, was another project going forward. Wendy and Maria were in charge of Ukrainian egg dyeing for all the kids.

The seniors at work creating.

Mackenzie shows off her egg at the orange stage.

Wiping the beeswax off the egg.

The juniors take a turn too!

Ben, thinking about his design.

The Egg Hunt

Oh, the booty!

Annalie and Kasey basking in the glory of their egg finds.

Those seniors did a pretty good job at hiding those eggs!

Anna helping Malik find his eggs at the littles egg hunt.

The Potluck

In between activities we all share in a fabulous potluck.  

Hot Cross Bun Recipe
2 C spelt flour
2 C unbleached white flour
1 T salt
1/2 T allspice
1/2 T nutmeg
1/2 T cinnamon
1/4 C sucanat
1 oz yeast
1 C warm hemp milk
1/4 C butter
1 egg, beaten
2 T orange peel
Glaze: 2 T sugar & 2 T water
In a large bowl, thoroughly combine flour, salt, and spices. In a separate bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm milk and let proof. Cut butter into dry ingredients; add yeast mixture, egg, and peel. Knead well. Cover and put dough in warm place to rise to double it's size. Divide dough into 12 to 16 parts. Shape into buns. Place buns on greased baking sheets. Let rise until  doubled. With knife, slash on top of each bun before baking in preheated 450 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. To make the glaze, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to prevent burning; let cool. Glaze buns when buns and glaze are cool. 

I feel it is such an honor to work with all these great kids and their moms. Each week, I look forward to my friends, young and 'older' walking through the door and wonder what our day will bring us. Thank you all for sharing your Mondays with me!

A note of sadness as we say farewell to Bonnie and Mackenzie who are moving on to other adventures, school being one of them. We will miss them at Lupines each week, but we KNOW we will be seeing them  on other fun outings! We love you Bonnie and Mackenzie!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Winter Projects

Continuing to look back, we go to early January. We all had several weeks off for the holidays and now we look to gather together again and work on some rainy day, winter projects.

The seniors enjoy several weeks of chess. Learning new skills, and competing a bit.

The juniors pick up on their Native American Peoples study from last fall with the people of the ice and snow. Ah, now we get to build snow houses out of sugar cubes! They loved this.

Here is Claire just beginning to create her perfect ice house.

Maia goes right to it. (Love those Elton John glasses, Maia!)

Ben wants to make a very small ice house.

Here is Kasey with her ice house almost complete. We never did get the roof on, come to think of it.

It can be a challenge to find projects for a group of kids to do on rainy days, when it is so blustery that no one (including us moms!) want to go outside. How to keep us all from running into each other? from chaos taking over? It is also different now that we have a gang of teens. It is not so easy to say, "come along, on with your rain boots. Lets go splash in some puddles." 
As they say, just as you figure out one phase of parenting/group dynamics, on comes another.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentines Fun

Well, I have sure been remiss in posting here lately! So to make up for lost time, I am going to do a collage of our weeks together to get caught up. Then I wont have this hanging over my head anymore, yeesh.

Working backwards, let's start with our VALENTINES Party. Our annual party is always a smash. I love planning it and I love hosting it. One thing though, that is clear to me this almost 14 year old son is done with Valentines Parties. You know, he is good with a family Valentines dinner and will even make his sister a homemade card, but he has had his fill. And really, I feel good that I have given him so much of it that he is complete. So for next  year, I will focus on the junior group of kids and of course, who ever else wants to join in. My daughter is still BIG on Valentines day and wants nothing to change for our parties. Phew.

Here we have..THE QUEEN of HEARTS! What a trooper, eh? Bonnie, you make me laugh, thank you~

Above, you have the gang working on Valentines cards. Who you dont see in this photo, is the group of boys who are playing chess on the floor. They are having their very own party ;)

Woodworking for the Juniors
The juniors have been working on woodworking skills all this year. They started out pounding nails into a block of wood (a lot of nails, and you know, they had fun with that), then they did some sawing of wood, and some sanding and some polishing of wood with beeswax. After some good solid skills were laid down, we set them up with a project. Each child got to make a bird house. Here is their progression.
Papa Liguori helps Anna with her birdhouse...and Maia with hers...
and kasey concentrates on hers. They are all very proud of their work, as they should be.

The sad bit about this otherwise joyful day, is the departure of one of our beloved families. Esther and her clan moved to Boston just a few days after this party. They were such a huge part of our group and made such a positive impact on all of us. We will miss seeing you every week our dear friends, but know that we will always be friends.

I hope to show you the finished projects next post (which hopefully will be soon!). Come March, they are to begin a new BIG project. The big daddy around here is going to help them to build a small hut or structure of which they can play inside of. Now, wouldn't it be great to add our gardening block to that by planting bean seeds around it to grow up and around the little house? Good plan...stay tuned.