Leaves, Leaves, Leaves

Last Friday, we attended a sort of co-op “school” meeting with our local homeschooling group.  These monthly meetings, held at a Salvation Army station nearby, are a nice way for the kids to get together and do a unit study, and a chance for the adults to mingle and bounce ideas around.

We’ve been to a handful of the group’s activities, but, since the girls are still fairly young, this was the first of the formal monthly meetings we attended.  I invited S and her two boys, and it was perfect.  DD1 and S’s DS1 liked the familiarity of each other, while the younger kids enjoyed wandering around and looking at all the other babies and toddlers.  Maybe I am just getting more comfortable with my own kids, or maybe they are maturing to where I don’t have to constantly chase after them, but it was one of the more relaxing “outings” I’ve been to in a long while.

The meeting started out with a brief welcome and introduction from the Salvation Army captain who, with her husband (also a SA Captain), runs both the station and the homeschooling group.  Our family is not vigorously religious, but the captains seem welcoming toward everyone, regardless of their religious or agnostic bent.  At least, that’s how they made me feel.

The potluck and pizza lunch kicked things off.  That was good for our four kids, who were a little unaccustomed to the heavy dose of social interaction taking place.  They enjoyed goofing around together and also started talking with some of the other kids at our table, which was great.  After lunch, it was time for the craft.  Another parent, who homeschools a young teen girl, had- with her daughter, I should note- planned a really neat fall theme activity for everyone.  It involved puddling a few drops of black tempera paint on the bottom edge of a large piece of white paper.  The kids used paintbrushes and straws to “push” the paint up the center of the paper and then out towards the edges, making it resemble a tree-trunk.  Next, they glued torn-up bits of colored tissue paper on the “branches” to make beautiful autumn trees.  Great activity for all ages.

The second craft was an edible turkey.  This involved taking two Oreo-type cookies, “gluing” one on its edge to the top of the other with chocolate frosting, and then sticking candy corn into the filling of the vertical cookie to make tail feathers.  Using more frosting, the kids affixed a mini Reese’s cup to the front of the vertical cookie for the turkey’s body.  A Whopper was its head, the cut-off pointed edge of a candy corn made the beak, and tiny dabs of reddish frosting made the eyes.  I assembled our turkey with DD1 while DD2 chased another little girl around the room.  DD1, who was getting rather tired, quickly lost interest in the turkey and preferred to enjoy the individual parts separately- as much of them as I let her have, anyway.

Unfortunately, no camera means no pictures.  Trust me when I tell you that they had a ball.

Coincidentally, DD1 picked out a book on our last library trip titled “Leaves! Leaves! Leaves!”  Written and illustrated by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, this is an adorable tale about Buddy Bear and his mother, who go on Leaf Walks together during each of the four seasons.  The mother bear tells Buddy about the leaves and what they are doing.  For a child’s picture book, it was surprisingly scientific.  They even mention chlorophyll!  And the first time I read it to DD, she completely tuned out when we got to the detailed parts.  But she brought it back to me a day or two later to read, and sat through the whole thing.  Now, she is now very interested in leaves, and can pick out a maple leaf without much trouble.

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