Quote of the day….Snow!

Since we had a record 12″ of snow arrive this week; I thought this would be appropriate! It really was beautiful.

snow in january

Took this shot on the way to work..no snow day for me…Finch!

“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”

J.B.Priestley

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._B._Priestley

Things we love…my three sons!

My three furry sons…all rewarding in their own special ways. Companions, comforting presences all, snugglers all; I couldn’t imagine not sharing our lives. Yes, the dogs are quite smelly (puppy breath long gone) and they do have a tendency to eat questionable things…so now I kiss them on the tops of their heads. The kitty, of course I kiss all over!

 

three sonsThe boys: Oz (Bengal) front and center 7.5 months, Sam (Maltese) left, 18 years young, Oliver (Pug), 11 years young. All co-existing peacefully and enriching our lives (even though they do spend an inordinate time sleeping).

Enjoy and share your pets with us!! Finch

 

Presidents’ Day Goodies!

As we all know, President’s Day is coming up in several weeks.  It’s always the third Monday of February.  It’s also a fabulous way to incorporate history, political science and fun into your homeschool day!

I’ve put together some free printables especially for our readers for President’s Day.  Just click on the link and you’ll be able to download and print them for your children!

Pres Day Word Search banner starsFirst, I’ve made a PRESIDENT WORD SEARCH.  Find the names of 28 of America’s presidents, hidden diagonally, backwards and forwards in this game!

Pres Quotes Match Game bannerNext, you’ll find a PRESIDENTIAL QUOTES MATCHING GAME.  Match the names of the presidents with the quotes they’re famous….or not-so-famous for!

Last, I thought it would be fun to round out the history with some cooking lessons.  So below, I’m linking to some wonderful desserts  made famous by America’s first ladies!  Select one and have a cooking lesson with your children to celebrate America.

Famous First Ladies’ Desserts

We’re blessed in so many ways in America.  Enjoy these activities with your kiddos as you celebrate Presidents’ Day!

finchnwren wins! :)

Finch and I had an incredible….as my son would say, “epic,” discovery this morning.

finchnwren.com won The Homeschool Post‘s “Best Family or Group Blog” in their 2014 Homeschool Blog AwardsThe Homeschool Post is a wonderful blog, authored and edited by several amazing homeschoolers (including my friend Sara from Embracing Destiny).  Its blog articles cover everything from family life, to curriculum choices, to encouragement for homeschoolers and moms.  And, they host the Homeschool Blog Awards every year!

There are 20 categories in the Blog Awards, from Current Events, Homemaking, Crafts and others.  We are so thrilled and humbled to have won “Best Family or Group Blog!”

Homeschool Blog Awards winner #hsba2014 at hsbapost.comCan you believe it?  We are so excited!!

Several of my blogging friends also won this award, in the following categories:

Check their blogs out….they are wonderful women with fantastic (clearly!) blogs!

We are very, very grateful for each one of our followers, and for our dear friends and family.  Bless each of you and thank you for voting!

Hugs!  –Finch and Wren

Hand holding….!

Oz hands 1

I have a severe case of boy craziness…and it’s not on my husband (to be fair, that’s man craziness). It’s my little boy Oz, who brings such joy and sweetness to our lives. He’s practically perfect..except when in his enthusiasm for chasing a thrown crinkle toy, his back feet hit a wineglass sending it crashing and shattering to the ground.

But when he’s curled up sleeping, there is nothing sweeter than when he curls his paw around mine, it’s bliss!

Oz hands 2

Enjoy—Finch!

Finchnwren’s Top Posts of 2014

Finch and I have only blogged for about a year and a half (well, just over that), but I love seeing which of our posts are the most-viewed….and, I hope, the most-read!  We just received the list in early January, and I’d like to share with you what you….and others…..most-read in 2014.  From 5th to 1st, here is the list!  (The link to each post is highlighted in the title.)  Interestingly enough, you’ll see that two of our top five are highly-visited posts from 2013.  They just keep popping up!

Number 5:  10 Easy Ways to Work Out from Home

One of Wren's fitness DVDs

One of Wren’s fitness DVDs

This was a joint post that Finch and I wrote together.  Both of us have very full and busy lives; but wanted to share ways that fitness could be included for anyone!

So, we wrote this post where each of us shared 5 fitness faves, all of which can be done in the privacy of your own home.  Finch loves Pilates and kettlebell workouts, while I prefer biking and aerobics videos.  But we’ve really got something for everyone in this post!

Check it out and see if you can add some ideas for your own 2015 workouts!

Number 4:  Grilling…Brussels Sprout recipe!

BeforeWe’re all looking for ways to sneak more veggies into our diets, in ways that rise above the “same ol’, same ol” ways we’ve done it in the past.  Finch’s recipe for grilled brussels sprouts nailed it.  As all our readers and viewers can agree, with it being our fourth most popular post of the year!Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Number 3:  Virtual Field Trips to America’s National Parks

The Freedom Trail--Boston National Parks

The Freedom Trail–Boston National Parks

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m an enormous fan of the U.S. National Parks System.  If there were a way for me to get to all 50 states to visit them, I would be on it!

Well…..that hasn’t happened yet.  But I keep discovering ways to get there…..virtually.  This post, which was included as one of the Schoolhouse Review Crew’s “Virtual Field Trips” roundup, details ways you and your children can visit some fascinating national parks and even do projects online, like the Junior Ranger “Webranger” ones, that will open the door to fun and exciting learning.

Number 2:  Quote of the Day:  from Mary Oliver’s poem “Peonies”

2013_0606_200130AA

I really love fresh flowers; gerbera daisies, hydrangeas, tulips, lilies of the valley….but of them all, peonies are my most-beloved.  Fragrant, full, many-petaled; when they begin to bud and bloom you’ll often find me sitting in my garden, just gazing at them and watching them bend and blow in the wind.

And this post seemed to strike a note with our readers as well.  I found this moving poem about peonies by Mary Oliver and quoted just a snippet of it in one of our “Quotes of the Day.”  But it was visited over and over.  Oliver captures the very essence of this flower, whose life is so brief yet at the same time, so fully overwhelms the senses.

Number 1:  Bridgeway Academy Review:  Marine Biology

Hammerhead Shark Food Web, created by Jackson

Hammerhead Shark Food Web, created by Jackson

In the fall of 2013, Jackson and I were able to review an unbelievably good online marine biology class from Bridgeway Academy for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  It was our first experience with an online homeschool class, and it was a truly spectacular experience.  Jackson had exciting and interesting assignments, and instructor Carla Berg beautifully opened up the wonderful marine world to her students.  We’d love to do something like that again!

I hope you enjoyed this quick review of some of the fun we’ve had over the past year.  Thanks for stopping by!

Enjoy!  –Wren

P.S.  If you’d like to see some other Top 5 or Top 10 Lists from around the blogosphere, my friend Emilee from Pea of Sweetness is doing a linkup!  Some of my favorite bloggers are in that list.  And if you do go, you MUST check out Emilee’s #3….especially if you are a Veggie Tales fan!  :)

 

 

 

Quote of the Day: Eleanor Roosevelt

"What's out there?!"

“What’s out there?!”

“One thing life has taught me:  if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests.  They come to you.  When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Blog Friends 2015

Last year, I posted a page of buttons of friends of ours from around the blogosphere.  I love seeing everyone’s buttons and the creativity and individuality each one displays.  Even better, you can simply click on the button and it will take you right to that person’s blog!

This year, I have some new friends to add to my current list.  Many of them are new or returning members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew….which means that these are homeschool moms (with homeschools of varying stripes) who all review curriculum with me on the Crew.  I’ve also got some dear friends who aren’t on the Crew….but whose buttons remain.

If you’re curious about these ladies, click on their buttons.  You might find a new blogging friend!

Every Bed of Roses Ben and MeFootprints in the Butter

Under The Sky Circling Through This Life Homemaking Organized

Pea of Sweetness As We Walk Along the Road Sunnyside Farm Fun

Life with the Tribe For the Display of His Splendor Be The One

Home Grown Hearts AcademyAs He Leads is JoyCounting Pinecones

Counting Change Again Daily Life Mom's Heart

Super Mommy to the Rescue Tots and Me Treasuring Life's Blessings

Homeschool Coffee Break Home Sweet Life Chickens, Bunnies and Homeschool Farm Fresh Adventures

Finch n Wren ElCloud Homeschool WestWordBlog

simplelivingmama.com Our Good Life A Moment in Our World

Golden Grasses Homeschool Dreams At Home: where life happens

The Mc Clanahan 7 Homeschooling 6 Life at Rossmont

Puddle Jumping Ladybug Daydreams Marching to a Different Drummer

Everything Then Some One Mama's Journey Tenacity Divine

Ozark Ramblings A Learning Journey AdenaF blog

Jensen Family Circus I Choose Joy!

A Glimpse of Our Life Delightful Learning Through the Calm and Through the Storm

Mama's Coffee Shop Through The Open Window Autism Blog Acorns Nuggets of Gold Blog

Little-Homeschool-on-the-Prairie Homeschooling for His Glory Schoolhouse Review Crew

Facebook Profile 180x180 writebonnierose wht

HSBA Vote for This Blog

Enjoy….and happy browsing! –Wren

 

Winter Nature Study—-Linkup Today!

We used to do a lot of outdoor nature study….participating in a nature club, going on group hikes, attending nature center classes and activities.  I’m not quite sure how it happened (oh yes, that surgery a couple of years ago!) but we hardly do those any more.

I have to admit that of the two of us (my son and myself), I was the one who was more interested in nature study.  He was more interested in seeing his friends, or seeing animals outdoors!  But we both loved our nature times, just for very different reasons.

However, today is your chance to access a huge list of nature study printables, activities, scavenger hunts, and both outdoor AND indoor nature projects for you and your children.  There’s something on this list for everyone!  And did I mention that it’s all free?

Winter Nature Study
 

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog today for all of these incredible nature resources.  I think you’ll be amazed at the cool things you’ll find that you can use with your family.

And, I don’t want to forget this incredible birds resource.  It’s not from the Schoolhouse Review Crew, but I received the link to it from Homeschool Freebie of the Day.  They send out a weekly list of fabulous free resources; one for each day of the school week, that includes everything from curriculum, to classic book readings, to materials for every subject you could possibly consider teaching.

Today’s Homeschool Freebie of the Day offering is an incredible bird coloring book from Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  It is a free downloadable book that you can then print for your kids to color.  It’s called the Common Birds Coloring Book with drawings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes, famous ornithologist and bird artist.  It has both the common bird’s name and its Latin name, and you can look the birds up in bird manuals (or online) to discover their colors and markings.  You can find this resource today at Homeschool Freebie of the Day.

In my opinion, you could copy this on stock card paper and use watercolors or acrylic paints to make it both a science lesson AND an art project!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Thankful? Need a little help?

How are you doing on the whole “thankful” thing?

 

thankful grateful appreciative

 

I must admit that my thankfulness ebbs and flows.  I remember praying once, years ago, with my friend Sydney and really noticing how she expressed her thankfulness to God.  She thanked Him for SO many things!  I loved how appreciative she was for all her blessings….and for how freely she thanked God for them.

I noticed that I wasn’t doing a lot of thanking….although I had and have a lot to be grateful for.  I’d like to remind myself to notice my blessings, and to pursue gratefulness.  I can honestly say, however, that life can get busy and I can forget to do that.  Just this morning I was thinking of the things I am thankful for…..and here’s the short list from that!

  • Thick, puffy, new-fallen snow
  • Peonies
  • Colorful leaves in autumn
  • Meerkats
  • Cattails
  • Lemonheads candy
  • My soft fleece super-snuggly blanket
  • Memories
  • Life

What a difference it can make in my attitude when those things are at the forefront of my mind…rather than the challenges I’m facing at the moment, struggles I have or the size of my laundry load?

My friend Marcy Crabtree has come up with a wonderful freebie to help us do just that.  In her free downloadable Grateful Journal, she has created a way for us to simply note…and record…one thing we’re grateful for each day.  By the end of the year, we’ll have an enormous list of the loads of benefits He daily showers us with!

Visit Marcy’s blog at Ben and Me to see more of her life, loves and homeschool helps.  But, if you’d like to step out into a more grateful and thankful attitude this year in 2015, jump over to her Grateful Journal page.  I think you’ll love what you find….and can’t we all use a little help to remember our blessings?   Follow the link and take a look….and learn how you can pursue gratefulness this year!

I can use the help.  What about you?  :)

Enjoy!  –Wren

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