Tuesday, January 24, 2017

DisneySchool ~ Peter Pan ~


Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust will spark a love for learning in any child or grown up with the heart of a child.  We were able to learn about many new subjects through the guidance of JM Barrie and Walt Disney.  Check it out and participate in the magical education of Disney.

GEOGRAPHY
Big Ben

Break out the world map and show your children where Peter Pan takes place - London, England.  You can even pull up a more detailed map of England and show them exactly where Big Ben stands.  My kids were absolutely fascinated that the clock Peter Pan, Wendy, Michael, and John stand on actually exists!  Now they are determined to one day fly to London... On a plane though. ;)

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ASTRONOMY
Second Star to the Right


No, unfortunately you won't be able to find the real star called Neverland.  But star gazing with your children will be a memorable activity.  Bundle up, lay out on a blanket, and check out the night skies! You can however ask your children if they can find the second star to the right' see what they come up with.  This is a great opportunity to discuss stars and constellations.
OSR Star Finder [found at https://appsto.re/us/cjlz4.i] is awesome! My kids love using it to find where the constellations are and to identify which stars we are seeing. There is also an app called Star Chart which has more details and names of individual stars.

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SCIENCE
Find Your Shadow

Peter Pan's shadow takes on a life of it's own and therefore becomes a significant role in the story.  Our shadows can only detach themselves from us when we are off the ground, which explains why Peter Pan's shadow can so easily get away. Haha. 

But shadows are so fun for kids! My kids love to chase my shadow and try to step on it; turns into a fun game of "shadow tag."  One fun activity we did was go looking for Pan's shadow.  I told the kids that I bet if they turned on their imaginations, they could probably find it somewhere.  They had fun pointing out shadows that resembled Peter and trying to catch them.
While enjoying some Peter Pan themed activities, you can also discuss the properties of


shadows; introduce the science of light and shadows. Trace shadows, color them in, create different shadows using objects, or play shadow puppets on the wall.  I'd love to hear about your shadow activities. Comment below and tell me about your unique shadow experience with your children.

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CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT & LANGUAGE ARTS
Think Happy Thoughts

For a simple writing assignment, ask your kids what their happy thoughts are and why.  They can write a short paragraph about them or younger non writers can dictate to you while you jot it down for them.  Remember to include their age and a picture they drew to go along with it.  You won't want to forget their happy thoughts so email it to yourself, post it on Facebook or Instagram.

We are charmed by the concept of flying through faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust.  We might not be able to physically soar into the sky, but happy thoughts indeed have power beyond belief.  Just take a look at history - the biggest advancements and inspirational events were achieved through optimism and persistence, even in the face of doubt and codfish nay-sayers. ;)
As a parent you have the incredible opportunity to plant the seed of magic in your child.  Remind them that they are capable of anything.  That positive thinking and confidence will lead to miraculous achievements and the conquering of dreams.  Through happy thoughts, you will bring an endless supply of pixie dust into your home and into the hearts of your beloved family members.


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Friday, January 20, 2017

Meant to Be - How We Found Our Airstream

     I’m slightly embarrassed with how long I was browsing for a trailer.  It must have been for over a year!  Ever since my husband and I agreed to pursue our dream to be nomads, I jumped on the Airstream Classifieds and kept in touch with all Airstream enthusiasts hoping to find one that we could afford.  
To my surprise, we didn’t even come close to purchasing a trailer for about a year.  I’d come across some possibilities that were “meh” and some amazing trailers that were not in our realistic price range.  And I actually lived in an unrealistic world where I thought it possible that some wealthy samaritan might come along and hand us a bag of cash.  Lol. No joke. I kept thinking, anything is possible right?

     But after months and months of praying and waiting and getting my dream bubble popped many many times, we finally got the news.  My husband was offered a paid trip for the whole family to NY. This was IT! Our opportunity to sell everything and take off.  But we knew that when we returned home to CA, that we would be forced to buy a trailer, whether or not it was a piece of junk or not. Haha.

     We arrived home and had no place to go, so we made the best of it and went camping for a week.  Let me tell you.. camping in a tent past 3 days is NOT my thing.  I was tired of hiking to the restroom and using community showers.  On day 4 I cried.  I was so close to throwing in the towel and finding an apartment for rent.
     We had a lead on a trailer that look super nice and possibly in our price range.  And it was only a 4 hour drive away to boot.  When we arrived at the dealer and saw the trailer, it was obvious this Airstream was trashed.  Everything in sight needed major work.  Rust was everywhere and things were visibly broken and the prior owners painted it silver! I mean, you don’t paint an Airstream! We were bummed out and told the dealer we were not interested in moving forward and started to walk out.  

     We were literally on our way out when I asked the dealer “Do you happen to have any other used ones for sale?” He said “Sorry, no.”  Maybe 10 seconds later he said, “Well, wait a minute.  We do have a trailer that has been stored here for over a year. It isn’t for sale, but I could try to contact the owner and see if she would like to sell it. Want to go take a look at it?”  We knew that it was a long shot, but how could we resist the offer to take a peek?

     Approaching the trailer, I couldn’t help smile.  It was so pretty! Looked great from the outside; no rust or dents.  Gorgeous exterior.  The moment we stepped inside, I loved it! So clean; open and inviting.  It was difficult for me to not get excited, but I knew it was not for sale.  We both wanted it, so we told the dealer to go ahead and ask the owner if they were willing to sell.  He said it might be difficult to get ahold of her as it was in the past, but he would try.  

     Only a few days later, we got the call.  She’s willing to sell!! What’s even better… it was in our price range!! 

     I could NOT believe it.  Honestly, I still can’t believe it.  How did this beautiful Airstream make it’s way into our lives at such a perfect time and under the perfect circumstances?  What’s more, this particular trailer was manufactured the year my husband was born.  
We thought it was funny that it was his age.  I speculated on where it had traveled and what had it been through along the time when Daniel and I were growing up. I even remember seeing Airstreams on the road as a little girl and wishing I could have one when I grew up - in fact I might have seen this exact one! Lol.  


Under the circumstances, I couldn’t help feel that it was written in the stars.  It was meant to be.

     We said several prayers of gratitude that day. There were times when we had been doubtful and sad, but the faith remained that things would work out.  But when things actually DID work out, I was in awe.  
Even when we received the bad news that the additional fees and taxes made the trailer just barely out of our price range.. Daniel happened to get an unexpected Christmas bonus and some generous help from family member.  It all panned out miraculously.  I can only thank my Heavenly Father for the guidance to press forward and continue to have faith in progress and pursuing dreams.  


     Now we have our dream home!  We named him “Excalibur” due to his brilliant shine and magnificence, but also because of the mysterious fate surrounding his existence.  We thought there was no way we were going to pull this guy out of the stone, but we did and it felt inspired. 

Our hearts are so full.  

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Friday, September 2, 2016

DisneySchool ~ Mulan ~

     I confess, I hadn't seen Mulan all the way through until recently.  My kids had asked to see it, and I realized it was one of the few Disney movies we didn't own.  We took a trip to the library and checked it out.  I loved it! The kids did too, haha.  This movie is filled with history and culture.  It also has an uplifting message and fun characters.  I was excited to get started on some related activities.

Language Arts
     Disney's Mulan is based on "The Ballad of Mulan" a famous poem in Chinese folklore.  The story describes a young woman who was skilled in martial arts and using a sword.  One male from each family was to become a solider to assist in the war.  Hua Mulan decides to take the place of her father who was elderly and her brother who was ill.  She displays so much courage and skill that she was asked to take on a higher post, but turns it down to return home.
     Mulan is a beautiful story for any girl to read and ponder.  In fact, it can be inspirational to girls and boys, since it encourages children to look beyond their place in the world and strive to accomplish bigger things without fear.  Truly inspirational.
I enjoyed reading the original ballad with my girls. It wasn't as entertaining as the movie, but had a more beautiful and lyrical feeling.  A wonderful way to expose my kids to a little poetry.
     We also picked up some other great books that focus on Chinese folklore.  These were fun stories!

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History/Vocabulary
     While watching the movie, Marley asked, "What does ancestor mean?"  The term is mentioned several times, and it is a significant part of Chinese culture to heed the warnings of ancestors.  We talked about ancestors, and I even introduced Marley to genealogy - the study of family history; descendants and ancestors.

Culinary Culture

     I love Chinese food! So I took advantage of this unit study and told my husband that we needed to take the kids to a nice Chinese restaurant.  We went to one of my favorite restaurants, The Golden Dragon.  They always have a beautiful ambience with lots of eye pleasing decor.  I took the kids on a tour around the place and we took note of the Chinese Art.

     To my surprise, the kids loved the food! Their favorite items on the menu were the egg rolls, and the wonton soup.  The cleaned their bowls.  Marley said she really liked how "fancy" the restaurant was.  It was a successful evening out for our family and they were able to be expose to some authentic Chinese dishes. And letting the kids try to eat with Chopsticks is
a lesson in itself. ;)

Chinese Art Project 
     I love finding painting tutorials on YouTube.  It is so easy to find a quick and easy lesson, especially for art projects.
     The girls practiced some different art skills while painting their Chinese Bamboo pictures and writing out their names in Chinese characters.  This is one of the easiest art projects we've done and they were quite proud about writing out their Chinese names.


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Field Trip

     This part took some research on my part.  I was determined to find a Chinese garden for the kids to explore.  I find they learn the most and have the most fun when they are outside and can make their own way through a new environment.  Luckily we were able to visit the International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake City, UT.  This place is fabulous! There is a small garden dedicated to each of the major countries in the world.  So we found a couple of perfect gardens for our Mulan lesson plan.  We worked hard to dress up and film a music video for the song Reflection.  It was incredibly beautiful in the gardens and the girls were able to experience a little bit of what Mulan might have felt.


Physical Education
     One of Marley's favorite activities is going to karate class.  Long before we watched Mulan, she
started taking classes to study martial arts, and she has just loved it!  It has given her some confidence in defending herself and in shouting for help.  I've really enjoyed watching her progress.  After watching Mulan, we talked about the way she utilized martial arts and how she maintained honor.  It wasn't long after that Marley took her final stripe test and graduated to an orange belt.  I was so proud!

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Choose Faith Over Fear - The Secret to Winning Life

Just before trying the zip-line Marley said,
"It's a little scary, but I want to try something new."
She is my hero. <3
    " Courage cannot erase our fear.
      Courage is when we face our fear." - {Seize the Day}     

      This past year has been a significant time for growth.  I asked myself so many questions regarding what is important to me and what I aspire to achieve.  And as a stay at home mom of three, I was unexpectedly faced with a unique and adventurous path.  This path led me to challenge conventional lifestyle and to pursue a frightening future of unpredictability.

     The biggest lesson I learned while embarking on this path, is that fear is not a weakness; fear is a challenge.  We all have fears, and we are faced with fears on a daily basis.  

Fear of failure.
Fear of inferiority.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of humiliation.
Fear of rejection.

I've always felt that fear is the opposite of faith.
     Especially while I watch the Olympics right now, I am awestruck with the tremendous faith these Olympic athletes radiate.  They go the distance because their parents have faith in them, and because they have chosen to be stronger than their fears.  They have faith in their abilities and in their dreams.

Great things happen when we experience fears and choose to overcome them.  And even when efforts made in faith fail, the experience is worth so much more than having given into fear.  It is an invaluable growth that rewards us eternally!

     It is a shame when people make decisions based on fear; I see those decisions as missed opportunities to truly shine.  But even when people have let fear dictate their paths, it is never too late to turn around and say "No, I am stronger than my fears!"  Every moment is an opportunity to exercise faith.

     When my husband and I took each other's hands and agreed to move forward with our plans to live a minimalist lifestyle.. we were letting go of our fears and building upon our faith.  It was then that we could see miraculous blessings happening in our lives and for our family.

     I had no idea that these things were possible.  But now I am certain that each one of us is capable of miraculous things.  We just need to have the courage to choose faith over fear.  
    
     Everyone has unique goals, dreams, and ideas that will be challenged by fear.  And I'm sure millions of incredible ideas have already been buried by fears.  These ideas could have flourished and could have inspired the world.  But they were stopped in their tracks.  Don't let the fear win.  I've seen it.  I've felt the fear too.  But you are stronger than you think.  I promise.



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Friday, July 29, 2016

DisneySchool ~ Lambert the Sheepish Lion ~

     A dear friend of mine officially adopted her second son and we were thrilled to get an invitation to be at the courthouse on that special day.
     As an unschooler, I immediately saw the educational benefits of attending with my kids.
     When I was thinking of fun ways to teach this concept, it occurred to me that one of my favorite Disney cartoons of all time would be perfect! LAMBERT!

Full cartoon can be watched on YouTube:




Social Science (Adoption)
Introducing the concept of adoption was delicate.  One one hand, there is an unwanted child or a child that can't be cared for by their biological mother.  It is a sad idea, and I knew my kids wouldn't fully understand.  On the other hand, there is a loving family who desires greatly to take in a child and raise it as their own.  It's an emotionally complicated subject.  Which is why it is an important thing to learn about correctly.  I explained to Marley that my friend is legally adopting her son.  It took me a few times explaining it, for the idea to click. I mentioned that it was like Lambert the Sheepish Lion (a cartoon she is very familiar with); The lion cub who was obviously from a different family, but the mother sheep who loved her lion son more than anything in the world. I could see her eyes light up.  She definitely understood better by making the connection.  Disney magic!

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Social Science (Legal System)

Our field trip to the courthouse was awesome! We walked around the grounds of the courthouse, and we discussed that there are laws that are made to protect people and make sure things are done correctly.  I explained that many of the legal proceedings are completed in front of a judge at the local courthouse.  I was so glad I brought to kids to support their little friend and his newly official family.  Watching the actual adoption was fun to witness. The judge was funny and very nice offering to take pictures with everyone.  It was a beautiful experience for all of us.

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Language Arts (Spelling)

We centered the week around the letter "L" - Lambert, Lion, Lamb, Love... etc

We learned the meaning of the word "sheepish"
We also read the lyrics to the song "Lambert."  It reads like a story and is a fun way to associate reading with watching a cartoon.

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Character Development (Bullying)
     Most of us familiar with this cartoon, remember the lamb crew that pick on poor Lambert for being different.  My first impression of them was, "What a bunch of little jerks!" But as I've grown up and experienced more, I've realized that everyone (even though they may not realize it) has been on both ends; being both the bully and the bullied.
     Bullying should not be tolerated in any shape or form, however, I think it is important to remember that bullies are merely lost and suffering from emotional stress.  Sometimes kids just don't realize the harm they are doing.
     I often tell my kids that there will always be peers that judge and ridicule.  I prepare them by saying that people can make bad choices and do mean things.  But I also make sure my kids know that the best way to handle the situation, is to steer clear of a person hurting them and to forgive that person.  When we watch the lambs laughing at Lambert and hurting his feelings, it is easy to label them the bad guys... that is until we see a bigger villain --- the WOLF!
     After Lambert displays his heroic side, the lambs realize they were wrong in judging him and they learn to treat him as a friend.  Aside from the lesson that bullying is not okay, this cartoon gives a great example of repentance and forgiveness.  No grudges are held, and once again Disney provides a happy ending.  With love and acceptance in our hearts, we can also create many happy endings. :)

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The Adventure Begins!

     After a year of dreaming, praying, planning, and waiting.. the stars have aligned and we have hit the road indefinitely.

     We officially sold and donated almost everything we own and moved out of our apartment, with no official place of residence.  I can't believe how quickly the last couple weeks have passed.  It was a blur of clearing out.  It was only a few days ago that we packed up our car and headed out.
     After a few hours on the road, Marley says, "Mommy, are you so excited we are starting our adventure?" It was then when it hit me.  We did it! We made it here.  Crazy.  A real miracle.
     Subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep updated on our experiences as nomads.

   
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