Pageant Time

clothesYou can always tell by my clothesline that another Wilder Pageant season is underway.  I love the look of clothes on the clothesline, but I especially love the look when it is full of bonnets and aprons and pinafores.  🙂

Last night was media night, so the cast ran through some of the more picture-worthy scenes for the press and gave some interviews.  The editor of the local paper photographed my crew as one of the last remaining large families with lots of family members in the play.  They’re supposed to head over to the paper this week to be interviewed.

Daryl plays Reverend Alden and Elias Bedal (the mayor) again this year.  He is great at both roles, even though they are very different.  He is caring and inspirational as the reverend, and an odd combination of jovial and grumpy as the mayor.

Toria is Mrs. Hansen this year, a Norwegian lady with a thick accent who is very proud of her “hus” (house).  The Ingalls Family bought their sod house from the Hansens.  She is also an unnamed other woman later on in the play so that she can be in the dances and group scenes since Mrs. Hansen and her husband moved away when the Ingalls got to town.

Jack, Alex and Fiona are all the mayor’s children.  Fiona, at age 3, is doing wonderfully as Lucy Bedal.  She had some adorable trouble with the stage bow/curtsy at the start of rehearsal and kept flashing the audience by just lifting her skirts up, but she now has a lovely little curtsy that she loves to show people.

The show opens July 10 and runs for three weekends.

You can go to the Wilder Pageant’s Facebook page for more pics!

Great Pinterest Boards and Some Fun Freebies

I love it when I find a great Pinterest board full of neat stuff I haven’t seen before.  I’ve stopped using Pinterest the regular way since it’s so full of the same old stuff and so many screaming text pins designed to give no information at all and just get you to click on them for blog hits.

My new way of perusing Pinterest is to just pin awesome stuff I find on my own and when Pinterest says “also on this board” I click on that board to see what people who like the same sort of content that I like have found.  Then I lose an hour scrolling through all of their awesome finds.  🙂

Some great boards (from all different users) that I’ve had fun perusing have included….

I have lost far too much time happily exploring boards like these!

(If you want to see my 100 or so (yikes!) boards, I’m Magic and Mayhem on Pinterest.)

Here are some of the fun homeschool goodies I’ve discovered recently….

How to Use a Protractor Freebie

How to make a clay whistle (the link is broken but the image gives a lot of info)

Which presidents are on your money?

(“This comes from, a free tool that helps users find low rates on credit cards, savings and checking accounts, scholarships and other things.”)

FREE Greek and Latin Root Word Activities

Hands on Venn diagrams (found somewhere here but it was pinned to the general blog and there’s no search function, so I gave up looking for the original post.)

And here are some of the things I’ve pinned from my own columns recently…

Free 76-page pioneer projects book for kids

30 Days of fun poetry assignments for all ages

Print out a fun, free U.S. states game!

Excellent free astronomy classes and lesson plans online

Use printable car maps to help kids learn their states on road trips!

And a bit of fun math/English humor…..

Are you on Pinterest?  Please leave me your Pinterest URL if you are so I can follow you, too (and lose even more of my time)!  🙂

10 Fun Ways to Homeschool This Week


It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these lists so I thought I’d toss out some fun ways to mix things up in your homeschool this week….

1.  Start a summer challenge of make sand castle versions of famous buildings and landmarks around the world.

What better way to learn about these amazing structures and their history than to see if there are any you can recreate together on the beach?  Here are some sites with pictures and information to help inspire the kids:

You can use all sorts of creative objects as molds and tools, such as Pringles cans for columns.  If you want a little extra help, they even sell some molds for the task, such as these architectural sand castle molds from Education Planet. There’s the Taj Mahal, the Coloseum, the Parthenon and more!  The molds are also available as a set on Amazon (affiliate link).

This sand castle board on Pinterest can help with the details of how to best construct them.  If you really want to be inspired, check out this project in Japan:

Sand sculptors have taken residency at the world’s first ever sand museum to construct scaled down replicas of London’s architecture and massive tokens of British paraphernalia in honor of the 2012 Olympic Games.

2. Time the kids running around the block each day. See how much they can improve their times by the end of the week. Help them figure out what percent improvement they’ve each made.

3. Try to find 20 different varieties of seeds together. 

IMG_0685There are so many types of seeds and kids can learn so much about plants when they take the time to look for them.  There are wispy seeds like dandelion seeds that travel on the air, burrs that cling to clothes and animal fur to travel to a new site, and giant pods from Pacay trees that are used as musical instruments.

Aim for lots of different types.  Here is all you’d ever want to know about seed types.

To make it more interesting, you can also aim to eat 20 kinds of seeds this week.  Some to try:  sesame seeds, fennel, garbanzo beans, corn, rice, sunflower seeds and millet.  You can also easily seeds in bites of fruit such as kiwis and tomatoes.  Here are even more edible seeds to try out.

4.  Sing “100 bottles of beer on the wall” subtraction style.  Sing the classic song together and then take turns shouting the numbers taken down and then sing the new number together and keep going.

For example:

100 bottles of beer on the wall, 100 bottles of beer, take (someone shouts out… 8!) down, pass them around, 92 bottles of beer on the wall.  92 bottles of beer on the wall, 92 bottles of beer, take (someone shouts… 5!) down, pass them around, 87 bottles of beer on the wall….

5.  Make dandelion syrup. 

This is a fun tradition at our house.  Not only do the kids love gathering all the yellow dandelion flowers to make it, but the finished syrup is unbelievably tasty.  It’s a bit like honey but a bit more complex, since it has subtle dandelion flavor, cloves and lemon zest.  You can use it just like honey or maple syrup in recipes or drizzled on foods like cornbread.

Daryl wrote up the step-by-step directions in his Cooking with Kids column, and he updated it with additional information later like how many flowers are in a cup the easiest ways to separate the petals from the flower heads.

6.  Build paper boats and race them.

Here are some easy instructions.

7.  Plan and build something. Whether it’s a tree house or a bird house, drawing up the plans will develop skills like measuring, determining area and budgeting.

8.  Play math games with chalk on the driveway.

For instance, draw big circles and write numbers in each circle. Have the kids hop to the right answer.  I have lots of ways to do driveway math for all ages and difficulty levels (along with other hands-on math activities for summertime) in Living Math Ideas for August.

9.  Have the kids do homeschool up a tree.  It doesn’t matter if it’s finishing an old workbook or reading a good book, everything is more fun in a tree!

10. Make a pan of oobleck big enough to jump in!  This mix of corn starch and water is a popular craft/activity for most of us for a reason.  It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s super fun!  It’s even more fun if you make enough of it that the kids can jump in it (or on it), though.  Even a small pan works for the little ones.  Kids will land on top if it when they jump, but if they just stand there they will start to sink in because of the properties of non-Newtonian fluids.  Jack adored jumping in/on oobleck when he was a preschooler (Side note: He just turned 12! How is that possible?).

ooblek1.jpgHere’s some info from Scientific American about the science of oobleck, and here’s a great video by the fabulous Hank Green about the science of oobleck and non-Newtonian fluids.

What’s on your agenda for the week?

Have fun!

(Note:  A few of these were lifted from my article 25 Fun things to do in your homeschool this summer.  Check it out if you want some more fun summer homeschool ideas, or check out 50 Fun and easy ways to play outside this summer for activities that are just plain fun.)

Back to Blogging…


I think I finally have things moved over here from our old site and am even getting some widgets and things added.  I’m going to try to get back into regular blogging now that the dust has settled. Here’s a bit of an update on things here, in as few words as possible….

1.  Rehearsals for the Wilder Pageant are starting soon, and most of our family is once again in it.  Daryl is the mayor and Reverend Alden again, Jack and Alex play boys in the mayor’s family, Victoria is back in it and is Mrs. Hansen (the Ingalls Family buys their sod house from Mr. and Mrs. Hansen) and little Fiona is in it for the first time ever, at age three!  I’m so excited for another family member to be taking part.  My little Annalee (aka Rhiannon Lee, who now goes by Rhia) was four years old when she started, so many years ago.  🙂  Fiona is playing Lucy Bedal.  It should be great fun.

2.  We just got back from another trip to St. Augustine.  This was our second time renting a condo on the beach in the oldest city in America.  We love it there, and we can stay in that beautiful two-bedroom Florida condo for less than we could stay for a week in a motel in Sioux Falls, thanks to visiting off-season (May is when kids are still in school and past winter months when people pay more to visit) and knowing how to get good rates.  I will always happily do without satellite TV and x-boxes, shop at thrift stores, cook from scratch and otherwise pinch pennies to be able to afford for travel to be part of our family life.

A little pirate art fun at a family event in St. Augustine

A little pirate art fun at a family event in St. Augustine

3.  We’re back to foraging now that the weather is nice.  Daryl and the older girls harvested easily 50 pounds of wild asparagus over the past month, along with loads and loads of ramps (a delicacy that bring as much as $15 a pound in some parts of the country) and some stinging nettles (they taste like spinach when cooked and are incredibly high in some nutrients — and no, they don’t sting you once they’re wilted, dried, blended or boiled!).  Asparagus season is winding down but lots of other goodies are coming into their own, including cattails next in our sights (they’re delicious with butter and salt).  Also coming soon or still going strong:  mulberries, raspberries, purslane, lamb’s quarters, dandelions (dandelion honey is a favorite here), milkweed pods (absolutely delicious battered and fried when they are still small) and loads more.  You can check out my Wild Edibles board on Pinterest if you want to start foraging with your kids.  I can’t recommend it enough for everything from nature studies to life skills to just a source of delicious (organic) foods you can’t get anywhere else.  This started out as a homeschool summer project for us three years ago and now wild foods are a substantial part of our “groceries” for half the year. Otherwise, a hundred other things are going on, as always….  I’ll try to start popping in to share more and also go back to sharing lots of fun resources I come across. It’s nice to be back!