pinterest-dd591.htm Oak Creek Academy: October 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Beauty of the Season

Halloween ~ what does it mean for you? Is it a celebration of the dead with skeletons, ghosts, witches, spiders, cob webs . . . . all things creepy? Do you know the origins of the day or are you caught up in the commercialization of the day?

The following is taken from

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The History of Halloween.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

Personally, I find the customs of today very creepy ~ my spirit is left uneasy. Today, I am reminded to do the following from Phillippians 4:8:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things

So, as I sit on our front stoop, in the chill of a dreary, misty, fall morning, I am reminded of God's beauty, even in changing of the season. The leaves have all changed from their summer green to shades of brown, yellow, orange, and red. Some trees are looking like skeletons, it's true. I am choosing to dwell on thankfulness that the pilgrims gave us years ago when the came to a new country to give us religious freedom. More importantly, I choose to dwell on Christ coming, as a child, to give us eternal hope.

What will you choose to dwell on today?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Have you ever . . .

wanted something like this for your craft room? This particular series comes from Pottery Barn and can run close to $1,000.00. We don't have an extra $1,000.00 and if we did, it probably wouldn't go into a craft table that will end up in the basement.
In searching the internet, I came across this blog. The author likes the same table and showed how she made the table for a fraction of the cost. Think I'll have to ponder how to create something for myself.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

School this week!

Sure has been a hoot! We're not even rowing "Owl Moon" yet. Okay, so that maybe a bad joke if you don't know the Five in a Row books.

Ferdinand has probably given me the most giggles and time to think. There is one portion of text that says "Well, if you were a bumble bee and a bull sat on you what would you do?" While reading, I'd typically pause after this, to which Thing Two would respond, "I'd fart!!" Really don't know where this came from, but today he actually said something along the lines of "sting the bull" which is close to what the text said. I was almost disappointed. The story makes me think of my oldest, Thing One, as well. In the story, Ferdinand the bull, is content to do his own thing, under the cork tree, sniffing flowers. He isn't lonely or anything; he just doesn't have a desire to but heads with other bulls, run around and snort, or anything else a bull might do. The story reminds me of how God makes each of us so different from the next and just because you don't fit society's view of normal doesn't mean you don't have something to contribute.

Anyway, I took a few pictures yesterday, of their Art projects for the day. Yesterday, I choose to post a Wordless Wednesday, so I'm writing about Art today instead of Math. The boys had fun with figuring out balance with stuffed animals - a lesson from Hanna's Cold Winter. Thought it was cute that Thing Two used his own hippo in the picture. Both boys did well on that task. For Ferndinand, we discuss drama and how to express yourself given a few different cue cards; things like sitting on a bee when you are the bee, sitting on a bee when you are the bull, running and snorting like a bull, and a few others. That was fun to see the boys getting their wiggles out.

The boys acting out bulls running and jumping,
hence the blurriness of the photo's even with the
camera being on sports setting.

Learning about balance with using their stuff animals;
an art assignment from Hanna's Cold Winter.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Encouraging E-mail

I have subscribed to "Heart of the Matter" for a few months now. Their e-mails are full of useful information and encouraging words for a homeschool mom. Today, under the "I Spy" section, there are five different blog posts that just touch my heart and helped me remember that I'm in this homeschooling thing for the long haul. Topics range from put it all in perspective to living and schooling in small places to 8 ways to sabatoge your homeschool and off course a couple more. Reading these helped me to "breathe deep" this morning and to remember a conversation from last week when talking discussing homeschooling and when to begin. A few years ago, I heard so clearly from God to homeschool, it would have been a sin not to. On the flip side, I haven't heard from God to stop homeschooling, so we continue our journey.

Here's a link to Heart of the Matter's I Spy page. Hope it blesses you too!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Sunday!!

I've finished lesson planning, for the most part, for the next couple weeks. In looking around for pictures of the books we are rowing for Five in a Row, I came across this web page about Trish Marx, author of Hanna's Cold Winter. It's a neat page and will review a few times during the next couple weeks.

Anyhoot, Thing One will be working through "Hanna's Cold Winter" and Thing Two will be working through "Ferdinand the Bull".

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday in review

School went well this week. A couple things were difficult, but all in all, a great week. Nothing in particular made it awesome, just things went smoothly. One great thing happened on Wednesday, at Thing One's den meeting, trees were being discussed (forests, canopy, cool fires, hot fires, kinds of trees, etc.). Our den leader showed a tree in his neighbors yard; Thing One was able to identify it as a banana tree (also known as a Basho tree). He learned this from "Grass Sandals", the Five in a Row book we have been reading. Yeah for him!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Completed Crafts

YES!!! I have gotten a couple crafts finished. Here's the finished product of what I've been working on:

The completed chalk board paint, tin, and ribbon trim.
I also put buttons on the corners.

The ribbon I cut to size and put up with Elmer's Glue. It worked
well and didn't change the color of the ribbon. Then I hot glued the
buttons together, then to the corners.

Fall themed wood things that I hot glued
magnets to the back.

Candle holder - there are small circles on top
so the glass votive holders don't slid. The votive candle
holders came from Ikea. The wood I stained a cherry
red and decided to paint the bottom black.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cox Farms

The boys and I joined our co-op at Cox Farms today. We had never
been before, so this was a treat. I hadn't realized how much
there was to do there. There were loads of slides, animals to see and feed,
shows to see, a hay ride, food to eat (not included in the entrance fee!!!). Here are
some of the highlights from our trip.
Boys at the top of the castle slide.

Hopefully the above and below pictures are obvious ~
Thing Two (above) and Thing One (below) enjoying
the slides.

Time for a hay ride (it was mighty itchy)!

Scenes from the hay ride.
Peter Pan

Beauty and the Beast

Thought this tomb stone was to funny. I was happy to see it turned out.
I'd been taking photo's hoping they'd turn out.

We came to the fork in the road.

Wooden horses

Lost and found chairs for teachers. There is a
bench you need to step on in order to get in those.
Guess I should have been in it instead of the boys!!

On the way out, you get to take a
small pumpkin. Here are ours at home.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Manic Monday

Odd heading, I suppose. Sure feels like it has been a manic kind of day though, as I sit back and consider all that has been accomplished and all that is still left to do. Was up before 6:00 AM today, sitting with my bible and bible study book. It was dark, except for minimal light (trying to keep the boys sleeping!), and a bit chilly. Thing one was up before I was finished, but said something to the effect of "I'll be quiet so you can finish your quiet time!!" He followed through with that fairly well, too. The day progressed from there. Here's what has been accomplished thus far today:
  • school with each boy
  • reorganize Thing One's folder
  • breakfast for everyone
  • clean-up
  • putting school stuff away
  • packaged up a book to go back to a friend
  • getting ready for the day
  • speech for Thing One at the public school
  • orthodontic appointment for Thing One (pallet expander got stepped on)
  • run by post office
  • straightening up of lots of little piles of stuff
  • going over some Webelos requirements
  • going over some Bobcat Requirements with Thing Two
  • played with dulcimer for a bit
  • sent out a couple e-mails
  • organized stray newspapers
  • threw away a few handfuls of trash
  • looked at Thing Two's leaf pile and helped make it bigger
  • cleaned a bathroom
  • gotten four loads threw wash & dryer
  • one still in wash and one more to go all the way through
  • unloaded dishwasher
  • reloaded dishwasher
  • made progress in clearing off coffee table
  • put away a few craft supplies
  • came up with meals for the week
  • talked with a friend, briefly, on the phone
  • got the boys Razor Scooters folding again with the help of a little WD40
  • updated sidebar on blog to account for new FIAR book for Thing Two
Now to just get rid of a few more piles of stuff during the rest of the day, read some more in bible study book, start reading chapters in "The Case For a Creator" and collapse later.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cedar Creek 2009

For the third year, we went to the re-enactment of The Battle of Cedar Creek in Middletown, VA. It was the first year, that both boys were scouts. Not many photo's taken of the battle as it was raining for a portion of the time there. The scouts that were there on Saturday, visited a camp and were told about how they camped, living in camp, and their guns. Here are the photo's I took this year:
An officer fixing a meal.

Camp, in between rows of tents.

Camp stove; this is how their meals were
cooked and how they kept warm. At times the
grates where left behind.

Explaining the weapons used during the Civil War.
Camp kitchen; the lid to the crate folds down to
become a counter top. Personally, I really like the
stoneware. It's beautiful.

Dulcimer we bought while there. The boys
thought I'd like with ones with hearts or such for
the sound holes. I really liked the one with the knot holes
best. It's not a hard instrument to learn. Kevin's learning more
quickly than I am though. He's been playing stringed instruments
a whole lot longer than I have though.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Science Friday

Not an original idea, but I am back dating a post for Friday (post being typed on Sunday); we raced out of hear for camping shortly after finishing Thing One's science lesson. One of the lessons is entitled "Science: Chemistry - Bananas and Oxidation". You know those fruit (and some vegetables) that turn brown shortly after being peeled: bananas, apples, and potatoes for example. It's a chemical reaction to air when the white flesh is exposed to air. Here's what was done and observations made:

A banana, not exposed to air yet. Should be banana white,
except for a bruise maybe.

Just sliced to allow for more oxidation.

About 35 minutes later, the first signs of the banana slices
turning brown. This took a bit longer than was anticipated.

Approximately 20 minutes later, the slices
are darker brown.

Just over three hours later, a skin is forming over
the slices. These where left out until Saturday evening.
They weren't much darker before being dumped into
the compost.

Next time we try this, we'll have put lemon juice on some of
the slices. Citrus fruits have an acid in them that make oxidation
slow down. It would have been interesting to note the difference
between the two groups.

The Week in Review

What a crazy week it has been for me; a busy week squished in between two weekends away. From my post this past Tuesday, you know we visited my folks for their birthdays. Kind of cool that they were born 362 days apart. We're getting ready now to go camping in the cold, dreary rain.

Highlights of the week include:
  • Decorating for fall ~ hanging swags, new and old, but still need to get our pumpkins out
  • great time at Breakaway ~ the ladies bible study at Burke Community Church
  • Wednesday was Thing Two's first Den Meeting as a Tiger. He was excited about it all week. Monday he said something along the lines of "I can't wait until Wednesday for my Den Meeting. It's toooo looonnnggg!!"
  • Yesterday was such a rainy, chilly day that the trip to Cox Farm was postponed until next week
  • Both boys enjoyed making Chinese style hats ~ an activity related to Thing One's book for FIAR ~ Grass Sandals
  • Thing One had his first building session for Lego Club. That was fun for the boys involved
  • A highlight for me, is that I managed to make a round trip to Costco, in 45 minutes on a dreary, cold, raining day, during rush hour (there's one street that just gets bogged down with people trying to get onto or off of Interstate 95). Made the trip in just enough time for Kevin to help me unload the van before he had to run off to a meeting up at church
  • The boys and I were successful in finding puddle jumpers. We'll need them this weekend!
Here are some photo highlights as well:

A close up of Thing One's hat. It says "Cool" on it
and the oo's are the eyes of the owl. Totally his idea.

Thing Two's hat with a Robin on it. He's really into
"Teen Titans" right now. Everything is Robin.

The bamboo we bought as a tie into Grass Sandals. No,
we won't plant it outside, it grows to crazy like.

Our new puddle jumpers. The boys both have black.
I got a shinny, red set.

Above and below pictures: The boys needed to make
sure their puddle jumpers were water proof.
Think they just wanted to play in the rain ~ which didn't last
to long, because they didn't want to wear their jackets and
got cold quickly.