Posted by: Brianna | August 4, 2008

A Summer of Reading

Just a quick update . . .

Benjamin is officially reading!  It is so much fun having him sound things out all over the house as he tries to read or understand something that is written down.  Thanks to the “Dick and Jane” books, Benjamin has taken this hobby up quite quickly and easily.  I love how the books start out so easy, with just simple three and four letter works, that repeat over and over again.  With each book the words become longer, more difficult, but they still use the idea of repetition which is really good for Benjamin’s little mind.

It’s so fun to have reading time now, because he can actually read a little to the kids.  With me being down and out more often with this pregnancy, Benjamin is going to be a great resource with helping me with the kids.

Posted by: Brianna | June 12, 2008

The Seventh Article of Faith

Benjamin was able to recite one more article of faith before we left our Primary, Beverly Glen, for good.  They had such great ideas, without their encouragement I probably wouldn’t have started Benjamin on memorizing the articles of faith.

I’m so excited that he was able to get such great exposure to these great testimony building exercises at such a young age.  I also love how his love of the gospel is trickling down to his younger siblings 🙂 .  Now, when we listen to the article of faith music Emma sings along with Benjamin and Joseph always squeals with delight!  I love the gospel!!!

Posted by: Brianna | June 11, 2008

The Sixth Article of Faith

This kid is amazing!!!  He keeps blowing my mind!!!  Benjamin has memorized yet another article of faith.  The articles have been put to music, so we listen to that CD on Sundays.  I guess it’s stuck with him well enough for him to remember them.  And it’s not even that he has to hear the music or sing the song, he can actually recite it without the music and without singing it himself.

Posted by: Brianna | June 10, 2008

The Fifth Article of Faith

He’s done it!  Benjamin has the fifth article of faith memorized.  It’s a little different than normal, just because his four year old mouth can’t keep up with his 40 year old mind 🙂  He says some of the words a little different but I love that he has tried and he’s doing such a wonderful job!

Posted by: Brianna | May 26, 2008

Officially Reading

I love the Dick and Jane books!  A couple weeks ago I picked up this Dick and Jane book from Costco.  I didn’t know if we would ever use it, but Benjamin found the book by chance and asked me to read it to him.  I started to read it and then realized that I should be encouraging him to read it, especially since it had short easy words for him.

What do you know?  He can do it!  He does a wonderful job sounding out the word if he doesn’t know it, but for the most part he does a beautiful job!

I can’t take all the credit.  Starfall Phonics had a great deal to do with his accomplishment.  He loves to spend his free time on that website, and I love him for wanting to do things like that.

I’ll have to post a video of him reading one of the stories!!!

Posted by: Brianna | May 15, 2008

Primary Colors

I thought we’d take a break from our regualr lessons and do a little science experiement.  I found some paints in the storage under the stairs and a couple pictures of caterpillars and butterflies on line.  I’m having troubles teaching Emma her colors so this experiment will come in real handy.  Right now, everything is pink or blue with her.  I remember Benjamin going through the same thing when he was younger, but I’m getting a little nervous that she might have some color blindness issues.  She should know the basic colors by now, but I still can’t get her to say for sure what color she’s looking at, she always turns to me and asks “boo?”.  She asks instead of telling me.  We’ll see over the next few months and as we really focus on that during our school time.

I set up a couple plates with droplets of paint in sections, stripped the kids because I learned that the paint was fabric paint and would not be removable if it got on their clothes, and showed them what I wanted them to do.  At first, when I told them to just use their fingers and mix the paint around, they both looked at me like I was crazy, like I was setting a trap for them.  So, I had to show them first.  Once they saw me do it, they were much more open to the idea 😀 .  Is that bad that my kids are afraid to make messes?

It was so great to see Benjamin’s reaction as he mixed the blue and yellow paint together.  It slowly turned green and then when he realized what he made this is what happened . . .

He was so smart to notice that the more blue you added the deeper the green became.  Since green is his all time favorite color right now, he spent quite a bit of time experimenting with the blue and yellow. He was so excited to mix all of the other colors to see what they made.

Pretty much the same thing happened with Emma.  When she started mixing the colors, she stopped and just started mixing the red together.  She kept saying “Pitty Pink”.  She was so happy to mix the red over and over again.  I always love to watch the differences between boys and girls.  While Benjamin screams or runs around the house to announce his discoveries, Emma is content to sit and admire or squeal her delight!

After they were done mixing the colors to their little hearts desire, I told them that they can now paint the coloring page with the colors that they made.  Benjamin’s page started off with greens and yellows and even a little purple, but by the time he was done it was just a big red mess!  He said that he wanted to match Emma who, of course, won’t paint with anything less than her “pink”.

But, really, their little masterpieces were so beautiful and they were so pleased with what they created!


Posted by: Brianna | May 11, 2008

Our Monarch Butterflies

On Saturday, we decided that it was time for us to release our butterflies.  Since the Johnsons have a desert landscaped backyard, we decided that it would be better for the butterflies if we let them go in the Combs’ backyard.  This whole process was too much fun to only post on our school site, so we decided to share it on our family site as well!

It was a beautiful day to be outside.  We waited ’til all the kids were up from their naps so that we could all enjoy this experience.  We’ve had these butterflies from when they were brand new caterpillars.  We watched then eat and grow bigger then turn into crysalids (coccoon) and then hatch into these great monarch butterflies!  The kids had a complete BLAST watching the whole process.  It was TOTALLY worth the $3.00 it cost to have the caterpillars shipped to our house.  I’m still so amazed at this whole process.  As a kid, I remember seeing diagrams of how their life cycle worked but to see it first-hand was something completely different.  I’m sure we’ll be doing it again in the future!

We caught some of it on video.  Sorry, it’s not that steady.  I was trying to get a good view and trying to keep Joseph from stepping on some of the other butterflies that had already flown out of the habitat.

If you look closely, those are little clementines on the floor of the habitat.  All we did was cut them in half and poke them a couple times with a knife.  This is a great way to feed butterflies.  You have to make sure that you don’t just set out a bowl of sugar water or juice because they will drown in the liquid.  If you’re going to do something like that, you should stuff a couple cotton balls or some gauze in the bottom of the container so that it soaks up all the liquid.  This will make it so that the butterflies have a place to land and can still access the nectar.  Benjamin LOVED feeding the butterflies.  They would tickle his arm and land on his hand.  It was the best form of entertainment ever!!!

After the last one flew the coop, we watched where it landed- right in Papa’s garden (just like we planned).  After watching if for a few minutes you would think that the kids would be done and over it, but not these three!  Every time it moved or twitched the kids would be squeaking and shrieking, and in Joseph’s case, clapping for joy!!!

We managed to get one to crawl onto my hand, which I then maneuvered so that it would crawl onto Benjamin’s hand.  Emma was thrilled, but kept her distance.  She has this thing about flying bugs- in that she doesn’t necessarily like them!

Benjamin was able to walk the butterfly, while still on his finger, over to a couple nice smelling flowers.  I really have no idea what they were, but they smelled amazing!  We watched as the butterfly probed with its probocist for the nectar from the flowers.

These are the moments that I live for as a mother teaching her kids from home!  I live to see the pure joy that comes from a butterfly taking flight, or Benjamin remembering the technical name for body parts and activities.

Posted by: Brianna | May 3, 2008


Houston, we’re a go!!!

All five of the caterpillars have formed their little homes for the next 7- 10 days.  It was crazy to see the process that caterpillars go through to get to this point.  They ate so much food!  We can hardly wait to see what they look like when they come out!

If you look closely to the picture below, you can see little “fuzzy” balls.  Those balls are called frass.  It’s basically caterpillar poo!  Benjamin thought that was a very important fact to know.

Posted by: Brianna | April 27, 2008

Painted Lady Caterpillars

We have CATERPILLARS!!!  They arrived in the mail a couple days ago.  It has been so much fun watching them grow.  Every morning, the kids ask if they can eat with the caterpillars and I place them on the table so that they can see what they’re doing.

These guys are piggies!  They eat and eat and eat.  Oh, and they poop too!  I thought that was a little interesting.  It looked like one of the caterpillars lost part of it’s body, but it was just its “frass”.

They should be starting to turn into crysalides.  Actually, I think the one hanging upside down might be starting the process.  All of them will hang upside down and turn into crysalides and after two days or so I’ll transfer them to the butterfly habitat so that they can do their thing and turn into butterflies!

Posted by: Brianna | April 18, 2008

Inchworm Heaven?

Actually not that sorry to say that I killed whatever it was that came out of that cocoon.  It was a mean little sucker.  It kept fighting the little butterfly.

So, I smashed it!

I think we’ll stick with bugs that we know what happens to them from now on 😀 .

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