on Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving came and we had such a fun long weekend together.  Mark had five days off, which was a real treat and a much needed break.  We celebrated quietly, sandwiched in between other celebrations.

Lucas came back from his Trackers day the week before with an extra roasted chestnut to share with us.  So I bought some at the store and we roasted them outside… yes… roasting chestnuts on an open fire… we were singing that song too.

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We had never had them like that before.  We liked them.  I think we’ll have them again.

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They roasted apples too.


Made and had warm pumpkin bread, because most of us (not me though) don’t like pumpkin pie, so I made pumpkin bread instead and Mark made blueberry pie.  Not a bad compromise!


The day was beautiful.  Perfect for having a fire outside and sitting by it.


The kids even played a board game outside.


It got dark quickly but I thoroughly enjoyed the change of light and seeing the sun shine being warmed by the fire by us.


Sewed a little by the fire.  This project is going really slow…


Had a delicious meal together.


So good it was I even forgot to take a picture of all the delicious food!

Photo taken by Lucas.

And finished the day with silly faces.  Happy and thankful for so many things and especially of being able to be together.  Hope your Thanksgiving was a beautiful one.

Bridge of the Gods


Last month, after seeing the salmon run at Eagle Creek, as we always do, we stopped at Cascade Locks, right under the Bridge of the Gods, to buy smoked salmon.


Oh my… it is so good!  Usually buy and eat there, and another to bring home for later.


It is a beautiful bridge, I think.  We cross it to go to Washington, every time we go camping over there, and the view from up above it is just as beautiful.  This place here, it is a beautiful place indeed.


Last year, also when my parents were here, and my aunt was visiting too, we did a boat trip right from over here, and I forgot to put the photos (I can’t believe it!)  I will post them though, here in few days, so don’t miss them!  Because it was an amazing trip and so much fun, that we still talk about it.

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Oh the sun, the fall colors… the views… so pretty.

DSC_0157-small DSC_0159-small DSC_0147-smallIf you are every driving down on I84, and I know you are probably trying to get to Portland, you should stop here. The view is amazing.



Now that I am about to eat, O Great Spirit,

Give my thanks to the beasts and birds

Whom you have provided for my hunger;

And pray deliver my sorrow

That living things must make sacrifice

For my comfort and well-being.

Let the feather of corn spring up in its time

And let it not wither but make full grains

For the fires of our cooking pots,

Now that I am about to eat.

–Native American Grace








salmon watching

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While my parents were here, and my aunt was visiting from back East, we went to see the salmon.  Again this year, as we go every autumn.

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We went to Eagle Creek.

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We like going there to see the salmon.  We actually have gone there every year, for over 5-6 years.  I think we’ve been able to see much better and many more salmon than at Humbug Creek, towards the coast.

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We had a beautiful, beautiful autumn day.


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DSC_0093-small DSC_0078-small DSC_0084-small DSC_0104-smallYou could see salmon here, but not as many as just down the road.  I think it needed to rain a little more so the creek was higher.


But who needs salmon when we have these partners?



And we ‘saw fall’ everywhere.

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‘Til next year, then.

Native Americans : Northeast Woodland Tribes : Part 1

After finishing our Ancient Greece unit, and taking our ‘fall break’ (while my parents were visiting), we continued our studies about Native Americans.  We’ve studied the tribes from the Arctic, The Pacific Northwest, California, The Plateau and Great Basin, The Plains and now we were heading East in our studies.  We have done so many fun projects, gone on “field trips” studying all these different cultures, we are all enjoying learning as we go.


I felt it was perfect timing, since Thanksgiving is coming up, and even though we always read about the First Thanksgiving and a little history about it, I think it would be good to study a little more in depth about how it came to be and that time in history.  Especially, since this is a relatively new holiday to me, well, since I moved to the US.  But in all these years, I have no excuse to not know more history, so now is a good time, of course.  And I’d love to learn it with my kids.

So we headed East, to the Woodlands.  Though I visited New York City and Washington DC when I was a teenager, I don’t remember much.  It was a trip I took with 40+ other teenage exchange students from all over the world, and we were mostly happy to be hanging out together.  We were there to get to know each other, listen each other’s stories and experiences speak our own language with those who did….  Not sure I paid much attention to what we were there to see.  I did meet lots of other friends from other countries though!

But in that trip, I know, we didn’t see the Woodlands anyways.  I imagine it being like the pictures of Maine, or Vermont you can find.  Maybe it’s more like the Pacific Northwest, but with different trees, and maybe more flat.

I think all this is a good reason to plan a “Field Trip” to the East coast.  Well? Not too bad of an idea I guess, since we headed north, to Vancouver, BC to see the amazing Museum at the University of Vancouver last spring break while studying the Pacific Northwest Native Tribes.  Wouldn’t that be amazing? Go to a museum in New York or in Massachusetts and see replicas and learn more hands on than what we can do from over here?  Now, that would be cool!  Real life history of the Eastern Woodland Tribes.  I’ll see if it’s even a possibility! 

We looked at the website from the New York State Museum to see Iroquois Village photos and artifacts.  It would be amazing to see in person.  OK… I better let go of this idea of this “field trip”.  But I guess if I keep calling it that (“field trip”) it sounds more educational and maybe a great (educational) reason to spend money on, than let’s say if I call it a “vacation”… right? We have friends living back East we haven’t seen in years, and my aunt… besides Lucas and Siena have never been there… not a bad “field trip” I’d say!

For now, we are excited to be reading stories, watching videos, learning, making, and playing from our home.  We are using this book a lot.  We’ve made a couple of dioramas.

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I wrote about the dreamcatchers we made a little while back.  That was a fun project!  We also drew and talked about design, and how they used wampums to remember important dates and celebrations.

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We also made bear claw necklaces. We read about the meaning of it, and looked at the different designs. I bought bear claw replicas (on ebay) made of resin, that look very real.


We drilled a hole with a hand drill and then put a leather piece.  It was fun to think of the designs and how they each wanted to make them.


And each of them made them very differently.

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We’ve done few more projects and we are still working on this unit, but for now I’ll go ahead and post this here.  I’ll keep posting as we go and keep learning.

For now, here’s the list of books, videos, and CDs we’ve used for this unit, so far.  While we continue to study I’ll add more to the bottom of the list.  In no specific order:


We also started reading a chapter book to go along. The Birchbark House from Louis Erdrich.

I will continue to add the books we use, at the end of this list above, so we can have them available for another opportunity, but also for anybody who would like to use it.

If you know of more resources, or have done a study on the Eastern Woodland Native Americans maybe you can add them in the comments, so it can be available for everyone to use.  Thanks and Happy Learning!

Last week…

As the November ends, the holiday season begins.  For me, it always seems that the holidays start with Halloween.  From then on, there’s celebrations we all love. Beginning with celebrating the changing of season. Autumn. Fall.  A beautiful time of the year, through birthdays (at home and far away), Thanksgiving, and looking ahead to Christmas and the welcoming of winter.

Last week…

… we watched Maven being launched to space on its way to Mars.  Fun to hear Siena wonder if they’ll find life in Mars.  Her most concerning question I think, since we’ve studied the planets last spring.  I wonder what we’ll find out from here.

… it rained like it was winter.

… we also had many beautiful sunny days with a chill in the air, that it reminds you that winter is here (almost!) Such a beautiful time of the year.  I love it!  I totally do.


… Mark (and all of us!) are ready for him to have a break.  We are counting the days to have him home to play, rest and have fun.  Thanks to the budget cuts, he has an extra day off (without pay).  We better have fun if it’s going to have to be, right?

… had a beautiful moment of I’m glad we homeschool, when Lucas and Siena do their playing and talking in what we are studying.

… celebrated Lucas birthday with friends. So much fun… more picture later.

… I am making things… for all sorts of reasons.

… was fun to see Lucas practice his fire-making skills.


… started our thankful leaves, trying to write one (or more!) thankful ideas from each of us, and hang them on the wall.  So fun to see the thoughts we had last year, and three years ago and some from 2007. Fun!  Also fun to hear what we are all thanking for right now.

… froze in the mornings and some days didn’t get over 50 degrees (F.) Love… especially since I feel very lucky we have a warm home to stay in or go back in to.

… I started to see the lights on houses and the stores have everything decorated.  I love how everything looks so festive.  It makes the darker days look much brighter!

… having fun thinking what we’ll make for Thanksgiving.  It’s usually just us four, and we love being together celebrating.


Hope your weekend was a good one.

The beach in autumn


While Glendie was here, we went to the beach last week.  We had gone to see the salmon run up the river by the coast, but there were no salmon yet.  The weather had been too nice the last few weeks, the rivers were not high enough I guess.  Even though that day was raining, pouring at times, and so windy.


But that was no reason to stop us there.  We ate lunch and continued the 20 miles to the coast.

DSC_0142-smallIt was crazy weather.  Windy, and cold, an autumn day at the beach I guess. Maybe a typical November beach day.



Still pretty.


And fun!