Cape Canaveral

Our third stop on our trip around the US landed us in Cape Canaveral, with zooming rockets and launching shuttles!  And so began a week learning about space and science.  I think this might be why I love studying this way, with each week bringing a different focus comes excitement and newness, while still keeping our basic structure.  Basically, I think I get bored easily and need to change things up a lot.

So, we arrived in Florida and busted out our space books right away.

Thank you local library!

Another reason I was excited to get to our space week was an art project I saw in Family Fun Magazine, a George Seurat-style pointillism piece using a pencil eraser

After practicing some drawing of different rockets, we lightly sketched our scene on canvas.

Using acrylic paints, we slowly filled in our different planet, asteroid, galaxy and rocket shapes.

Car's finished piece


Tallinn's finished art work, done on canvas.


My finished piece, done on watercolor paper.

I LOVE how these turned out.  The whole time we were working Tallinn expressed his disbelief that George Seurat didn’t need to use a pencil eraser to make his tiny dots.  His is now up in his room and looks awesome!

Spacey Spelling Words

  1. rocket
  2. planet
  3. shuttle
  4. orbit
  5. space
  6. cape
  7. blast
  8. earth
  9. Bonus: astronaut

*For our weekly verses this year we are memorizing a verse a week from Ephesians 6 on the armor of God.  While it was fun last year making the verses somewhat match what we were learning, I didn’t feel like the kids retained them as much as they weren’t related.

Boston Baked Dinner

Boston Dinner Menu:

Green Beans with a hint of butter

Boston Brown Bread

 This bread was interesting to make, using an old type of Native American technique by steaming it in a coffee can.   I should have followed the instructions and fastened the aluminum foil on top using string instead of a rubber band as it smelled like burning tires in our kitchen for quite some time. Fortunately, it didn’t affect the taste of our dinner.

My sweet friend, Amanda, had given me this coffee can awhile back and, as she now lives on the other side of the world, it made me think of her. Miss you, friend!

so fun!


Brian read “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”, which I still had from teaching fifth grade years ago and we all enjoyed the story/poem along with our scrumptuous dinner.

For dessert, we made some chocolate chip cookies as they originated in Boston.  I didn’t take a picture of our finished product, but this recipe was most delicious!

Thus concludes our week in Boston.  Along with our tea party and day of geography we also did a little bit of currency designing

This site also had some additional resources we used for coloring and word games.

Thank you, Boston!

Bathtub Tea Party

 You may have heard of the famous Boston Tea Party that once graced the waters of Boston Harbor.  Well, we decided to have our own tea party action, after a cup of tea, of course.

First, we did a brief lesson on taxes, which basically involved me telling Tallinn to collect so much money and then ruthlessly taking most of it away. 

Then, we read a bit on what preceded the Boston Tea Party and why the Colonists revolted.  Honestly, I had forgotten all about the Boston Massacre so we all were learners today.

Next, we made little boats out of newspaper, copying a sample in a Curious George book we had from the library.


Next we added some British flags to our “ships”, a bit of tea, and some British “soldiers” (a.k.a. Lego men).

Lastly, we tested our ships in the open waters of our bathtub and the tea party officially began.

Since the real Boston Tea Party took place at night, we turned out the lights in the bathroom and lit a few candles to make it a bit more legit.


tea seeping into the water

The boys probably could have stayed in the bathroom for hours and played.

We had so much fun with this little activity and I was reminded of why I love homeschooling!

Boston Bound

We left Austin and found ourselves venturing east to one of the first areas colonized in the US…..Boston.

Map and pictures of Early Boston Events

Each week we’ve been filling in the correct city and state on this map, keeping a record of where we have been as we go along.   For more printables on Massachusetts we used this excellent site once again as well.

At the library we picked up some helpful books on Boston.

This week’s spelling words (in ABC order):

Beef Brisket and Corn Bread

Our week in Texas came to a close with an authentic meal, some fun “kid-inspired” decorations, costumes and an old familiar tune.




Tallinn made some little signs

Austin Week Dinner Menu

Oven Roasted Beef Brisket

Skillet Corn Bread

Texas-style Caesar Salad

We all loved the beef brisket spices and enjoyed dipping our meat into the juice that was left over.   We make skillet corn bread quite often, typically with sage and honey, but this standard version,  which we adapted a bit, was also a hit.  And the salad, amazing!  I absolutely loved the cilantro caesar dressing that accompanied it and next time would possibly add some homemade cornbread croutons to the mix.

Tallinn had a soccer game shortly afterward so we didn’t get to enjoy a dessert round, but if we had, a pecan pie would have been a great addition to this delicious meal.
Thank you Austin and Texas for a fun week learning about
This was a fun way to use some leather scraps I’ve been saving for just such an occasion.

rodeos (lots of fun videos to watch on Youtube)
and a lot of Southern fun.
For more learning resources on Texas we found a great site with lots of printables perfect for children who are reading and writing. (Tallinn loved doing these pages!)

A cowboy lunch

It’s all hats and boots around here.

and a few carrots, peanuts and pecans.


Deep in the Heart of Texas

We began our US study right in the middle of America, venturing Eastward from our California coziness to the center of Texas….Austin.  As we are traveling once again in an alphabetical haphazardness through various cities, regions and national parks, there will likely be no pattern, no rhyme and even perhaps not a striking reason for our stops along the way, but there will be guaranteed learning and fun!

If you followed our journey around the globe, some of what we do will be a bit similar to last year….beginning with geography, adding art and culture and finishing with a dinner focusing on the region we are studying.

Here we go!

After some fun good ole’ fashioned Texas music,

we got to work on our flag craft.

Nothing particularly fancy, but I had Tallinn divide up each page with a ruler which incorporated a bit of math.   Then, using chalk pastels, they filled in the correct sections.  (I love the stars that Tallinn drew, not perfect, nice and childlike).

Tallinn also colored in a page of the map of Texas as we reviewed it’s location on our US map and learned some facts about Texas.

He's into rainbows right now, probably after a friend's "rainbow" birthday party.

                                                                Fun Texas Facts:

2nd largest state

State sport=rodeo

State tree=pecan

State bird=mockingbird 

Austin=live music capital of the world


One other element we added to our learning this year is a weekly spelling list to tie-in our theme.   I tried to be fancy and add a fun cowboy-bordered spelling page, but I’m not that great at this blog stuff and it has already taken me SO long to get this post out, that my list will have to be boring until I learn otherwise :).

Texas Week Spelling Words

1. Texas

2. music

3. dance

4. cowboy

5. sing

6. drum

7. show

8. place

9. play

Bonus: capital

 We’ll be back soon Y’all.

America the Beautiful

Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for patriot dream

     That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam

     Undimmed by human tears!

                America!  America!

    God shed His grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood

    From sea to shining sea!

Slowly, but surely, we are beginning our study on the US.  Before, when we ventured out on our journey around the world, I really didn’t know what we were doing and just jumped into it (which is kind of my style but a bit easier with only three kids and zero nausea) and it worked out and I love the way it turned out, even if it did take MONTHS longer than I expected.   This time, we’re taking our time, doing a shorter journey, and, in doing so, I decided to just do a US introduction for the first couple of weeks.  So, the past two weeks we have been learning basic facts about the US….number of states, finding different states using our map legend and navigating north-south-east-west, etc., which oceans it lies in between….

Our first project was a salt-dough map, using flour, salt and water

We traced an outline of a US map on a piece of cardstock and then filled it in with the dough.

This was a project I did alone with Tallinn as Addie was a little tuckered from her learning and Cardiff isn’t quite ready, although he had some fun with the dough, too.

How could I resist an opportunity to capture those cute-ever-growing hands?  Man are they quickly getting so big!

While we’ve been waiting for the dough to dry (it is finally dry and we’ll paint it soon), we got to work on another project.

First, the kids attempted to draw the US on their own….

If you notice my most excellent cartography skills on the white board, you will see why my children’s versions are so imaginative 🙂 (they might even be better cartographers than me).


Tallinn's finished map

 I let them use their own artistic talents to fill in the maps, while I attempted to fill in each state using my USA map place mat from Crocodile Creek.  They have such fun products!

My finished map.



Cardiff's map....remember, he's three!



Addie's finished map.

So there you have it.  We are back.  Sort of.  Navigating our way again, with stops to change diapers, deal with tantrums, soak up afternoon naps and just sit together with a book.   Thanks for joining us at our new-and-maybe-not-so-improved-life-with-four-kids pace!

High Hopes

I had such high hopes for the conclusion of our Around the World Tour.  Friends would come to an elaborate “Open House” featuring something we learned from each country-an item to taste, a craft to make, etc.  It was destined to be a big success, I am sure of it.  And I’m also certain that this is how life goes, at least for me anyway.

Fortunately, the reason this elaborate plan was unsuccessful (at this point) was because of another baby coming into our home, actually two more babies…one via my growing belly and one via adoption and a real-life-non-virtual-trip-to-Korea.  So, with the combination of some serious “morning” (more like all-day) sickness and a new sweet bundle finding his way in a family of 6, we had some other things happening this summer, good things, amazing things, God you are SO good to us things.

That would also explain why I  haven’t blogged in awhile (in case you noticed).  But now, here I am, attempting another journey with my little learners, this time we are adventuring around the US.  If I can just be honest, being an international traveler, it has been a bit harder for me to get motivated to study the US.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this amazing country I get to call home and am thankful to live here, it just doesn’t quite excite me like the rest of the world does.

That being said, we are going to have LOTS of fun this year and I haven’t decided if I’ll start a new blog just for our US journey or continue posting on this one.  For the moment, as it’s taken me about 5 days to finish this post, I think I’ll keep things the way they are.  We just started last week and are inching our way along with some basics about US geography.  Next time I post, there will be some pictures of what we’ve been working on and a bit more info on where this journey will lead us.

Thanks for sticking with us! 


Brazilian Poem



Adriano del Valle

Translated by Alida Malkus

The little elephant was crying

because it did not want to sleep…

Go to sleep, my little elephant,

the moon is going to hear you weep.


Papa elephant is near.

I hear him bellowing among the mangoes.

Go to sleep, my little elephant,

the moon will hear my little fellow…