Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Eve, Halloween Day

I don't know if Halloween Eve is a thing, but when the big day falls on a Saturday, there are all sorts of festive, fun things to do on Friday night, so I'm sticking with it.

On Halloween Eve, we packed up our wonderful little weirdos and headed down to the City of Arvada's trick or treat street.  It was pretty cold outside... but mostly, I just have a paralyzing fear that my children might get a little chilly.  It's the stuff of my nightmares.  First world problems.

Logan decided that he wanted to trick or treat as a fireman, so that's how he rolled.

It was the first year that we've been to this particular event, and it was actually really cool, and pretty packed.

The little one was worn out, and it was bed time, so she was fairly clingy and not as accommodating as she's been on our past outings.  

The big ones had a grand old time running from business to business practicing their treat-getting skills.

I think Leah might have OD'd on sugar right before this picture was taken. They love Halloween, those crazy kids of mine.

I have no idea where they get that.  Must be the mailman.

For the record, because I tend to forget to document these things:

Here's the way our house is evolving.

Casey also doesn't like Halloween, in case that was in question.

The next day, on Halloween, we had an early party to celebrate.  Last year, since Halloween was on a Friday, we invited just our friends from school.  This year, since it was on a Saturday, it was a whole crazy mash-up of different people from different parts of our world.

It actually came together pretty nicely.  I think the kids had a ton of fun!

I so regret that I didn't take more photos!  Everything was really cute and fun, and we had a number of fun activities that I didn't even break out the camera for.

Oh well... moving on...

After a nap, we carved pumpkins, enjoyed our traditional Halloween dinner (broccoli cheese soup and garlic bread) and headed out into the neighborhood.

We met up with some of our friends, and then we were off.

And oh my goodness, our neighborhood is such a great place to trick or treat!  It has the most wonderful, old-fashioned vibe to it, with the streets lined with children running door to door,  neighbors sitting on their porches handing out candy, and home-made haunted houses.


The kids always have the best time!  We often feel lucky to be a part of this neighborhood, but seldom more so than on Halloween.  It is such fun!

And, of course, the haul.  I'd be remiss if I didn't show you the fruits of their labor.

Because it's pretty awesome, too.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Strassner Academy: Week 8

It's difficult for me to believe that this marks the third Halloween I've been at home, teaching my own little ones instead of reveling in The Tell-Tale Heart and Edgar Allan Poe with 140 8th graders.

I'm not going to lie - I miss The Tell-Tale Heart.  And Shakespeare.  And being able to make slightly off-color jokes.  And having a vocabulary that didn't include the word Caillou.  I may have gotten off-topic here... let me go back.

Every year at home with the kids, we take time to do some festive, Halloween-y activities as part of our school day.  This year, a few of those included:

A Halloween-themed sensory bin with black beans and all sorts of wonderful little creepy crawlies.

Puff ball-painted candy corns.

I discovered that Olivia is absolutely enthralled by puff-balls, too.

She did this activity forever.  Literally, for nearly 45 minutes she sat and entertained herself quietly, pausing only to ask me to open the top and pour them out again.  It may not seem like a big deal, but doing anything away from mommy for 45 minutes is a BIG deal in Olivia world.  It was really impressive!

I eventually added beans to the mix to give it an auditory quality, too, which made it fun all over again when she began to tire of just the puff balls.

My favorite activity of the week, though, was this witches brew.

It started off simply enough.  Just a couple of kids, mixing a little baking soda, water and green food coloring.  They took the midnight train goin' anywhere.

Next, we brought out the ingredients:

Leg of spider.  Eye of newt.  Wing of bat.  You know, the usual cauldron line up.

Plus some magnetic letters, because, well, fun review opportunity.  Hello.

And then... the most important, final ingredient.  A little blood of toad (aka vinegar and red food coloring).  Oh yes, I went there.

Plus, it gave me a great opportunity to work in a little Double double, toil and trouble MacBeth action.  Finally, my Shakespeare!

And the result?  Awesome!

Not only was there an awesome reaction, but it turned the potion a really fun, spooky black color.

The kids had a great time playing with their witchly concoctions, and we were able to add more baking soda and vinegar and create a few more reactions.

It's no Poe, but I think we do the holiday justice in our own special way!

Monday, October 26, 2015

The first of the season

We look forward to it every single year.

Costumes this year were probably the most difficult yet.  They initially wanted to be minions.  Until Logan changed his mind and wanted to be Spiderman.  And then Leah changed her mind and wanted to wear her supergirl costume from last year.  And then we went to Disney, and she settled on Belle.  Logan was going to be a fireman.  Until he changed his mind and decided to wear his muscle man costume from last year.  

In the end, we just bought Liv a doggy outfit because she saw it and went nuts over it, which pretty well settled things.  It's the first year my children haven't been coordinated.  I suppose it had to happen sooner or later, right?

They're still pretty darling, though, so it's alright.

Every year, it gets to be more and more fun to watch the new enthusiasm they bring to this holiday, and this year was no exception. 

The very great thing was that, unlike last year when he was literally only home for the day of Halloween, we had Casey around for every part of our celebrations! 

Our little doggie was as happy as could be and grinned and smiled at everyone around - not her usual m.o., I might add.

She even took her turn walking.  With a little help from Daddy.

She melts my heart, that adorable tiny lady.

As always, the kids had such a great time.

Once she was all dressed up, Leah took her princess duties very seriously.

She was very dedicated to the role.  Her tone of voice, movements and gestures all changed, and she became much more elegant and stately.  It was pretty fun to watch. Belle had a rather grand influence on her. 

This is always one of our very favorite traditions.  It is such a joy to watch how they grow and change each year.  And, although I also say it every year (and it's always true!), I think this was our best year yet!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Strassner Academy: Week 7

Well, it was fun while it lasted.  We pushed pause on reality and enjoyed a whole ten days of guilt free, routine-breaking fun.

And, well... you know what they say about good things, right? 

So, we started back with the letter C, Joseph, and his coat of many colors.

We made a letter C snack of many colors.

We mixed primary colors to see what would happen.

Leah may have spilled the beans on some of these, what with actually knowing what was going to happen and all.  

But it was still fun, just the same.

Somebody was getting her teeth in and was pretty wretchedly miserable.  

We made crayons on a very wet and fall-feeling October day, 

and not just any crayons.  Halloween crayons, of course. 

So, here's the beautiful thing about homeschooling: it can be done anywhere!  Even though we were on the road the last two weeks, we did memory work, we listened to The Wizard of Oz and Charlotte's Web, we went to the zoo and we learned about invertebrates, and fish vs. mammals at Sea World.  It totally counts, at least a few days' worth.  

There was much to do to get us caught up now that we're back this week, but it was another fun week on the books.

I changed my font at