Welcome to TwoCowgirls, the blog about our crazy life in Downtown Saint Paul!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015: The Year We Took December Off

I declared December to be a "no school month."  I twas fantastic!!  I had finals, we had Christmas to prepare for, and it seemed that a lot of other "things" were coming to a head in December, so I decided to give myself (and everyone else) a break.

The one condition?  No electronics.  No tablets.  No computers.  No TV.  As the month comes to a close, I'm getting a little lazy about enforcing this rule (my girls are watching Barbie: Life in the Dream House as I type).  Having electronics off for the month has been great.  The girls have been playing more together, doing more art, and getting creative.

Of course, even though we had "no school month,"  learning didn't come to an end.  We had a few art lessons, took a few classes through Field Trip Friday and SciGirls, and had a few meet ups with friends.

Here's what we did this month:

Meet the Masters:  Renoir

A tour of the Christmas decorations at the Ramsey House

Gingerbread House fun at 4-H

Elva Kaffe:  Elise was a Norwegian dancer

Decorating the tree!

A Day in the Life of an Elf display at Macys

SciGirls: Make up (frost bite.  Brrr!)

Hour of Code

Cookie making workshop at 4-H

Decorating cookies at 4-H

Making her first stop action animation movie.  So cool!!

Meet the Masters: Warhol

Annual bell ringing

Norwegian folklore and tomte making class

Photo bombing my pretty table setting

My little elves on Christmas morning!

A product of Millie's cooking class

Art lessons through Createful Christmas

The only cookies we made (at home) this year!

Daddy/daughter bliss!
Only two more days 'til 2016!  I love the time between Christmas and New Years.  It is perfect for business planning, life planning, and school planning.  I'm sure New Years Eve will find me with a bottle of wine, Dick Clark, my laptop, a notebook, and a sharp pencil.  I sure know how to party!

See you in 2016!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Girls Shopping Day, Girls Club, and Feed My Starving Children

I'm going to go a bit out of order this week, and start with Wonderful Wednesday.  We started learning about Buddha, as part of our ancient history studies.  We've been focusing on Egypt, Greece, and now we've made our way over to India.  I invite you to check out my post called

If you scroll down to "The Enlightened One," you'll find an attachment to the video and worksheet used to learn about the caste system, and details about what we did for our lesson.  Of course, the video is totally kid appropriate.  While searching YouTube for a video, I came across a LOT of videos about the caste system as it is alive and well in India today.  I encourage you to search it up, it's very interesting!  We're reading Siddhartha: The Story of Buddha.  It's interesting to see similarities between that story, and many of the stories we're familiar with, such as the story of Jesus's birth and Cinderella.

Okey dokey, let's get on with our week!  Here's what else we did:


Today the girls had piano bright and early at 8 AM.  I really need to change that time.  It's so hard to get up that early!  I'm a night owl, and Sunday is my only night to stay up late having fun, but I'm punished for it in the morning because of our early piano start time.  After piano, Millie had co-op, and Elise had Jr. First Lego League.  I just love both of those things!  After we got home in the afternoon, I took a nap.  Zzzzz.


No school today!  I had my annual mother/daughter Christmas shopping day!  We didn't take a selfie together, but I swear it happened :)  My mom, sister, and I hit up Target, Toys R Us, Barnes and Noble, Bakers Square, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby.  I got a LOT of shopping done!  I managed to stay on budget, which is amazing.  When it was all over, I wasn't ready to go home, so I kidnapped Bud from work, and we went out the the Mall of America to do a little more shopping, and to have a nice child-less date together.  It was sooo great!  We went to a few stores, and then ended the evening with dinner at Tucci Bennuch.  I had potato and rosemary flatbread.  It was amazing.  Isn't my husband handsome??  I think I know where my children get their silliness from...


Wonderful Wednesday.  **Please see above**  He he.  I should also mention that my kids are sick of astronomy (I think I mentioned that last week).  I told them we'd be done as soon as they could memorize the planets in order, starting with the first planet from the sun.  Done and done, thanks to this video:


Today was my day to go to school in the afternoon.  I'm counting down the days until I'm done with this semester.  I bit off more than I can chew.  I won't be taking any classes next semester, and will use my evenings to exercise and read.  I'm so excited!!!  As always, Millie watched Elise.  They did some Harmony Ed worksheets, worked on memorizing the planets, had quiet reading time, and then had freedom to play on electronics when all their work was done.  Oh, it was also my birthday.  My kids made me really sweet cards.  Aside from that, it was the most lame birthday every.  I didn't even get cake.  Waaaaa!  It's OK, I'm over it. I swear. 


Girls Club!  Field Trip Friday!  What a full day!  We started out the day by dropping Millie off at Girls Club.  Today they made thanksgiving crafts.  They're so cute!!  You'll have to take my word for it ;)  While she was there, Elise and I hung out, had some Starbucks (no, we're not boycotting because of their red cups), put together a puzzle, she read In The Meadow to me, and we played War.  After that, we ran home so I could change my shirt because I spilled on it (typical!!).  Then, we rushed out to Feed My Starving Children to help pack up meals for people in need.  Oh man, that was SUCH an amazing experience.  Not only did we help prepare a lot of meals for kids (over 50 kids for an entire year!! Amazing!), but it was so fun to watch my little Elise take on a job and do such a good job with it.  I sometimes forget what a big girls she is, because she comes in such a tiny package.  She did an amazing job.  So did Millie.  We'll definitely go back.  

Housekeeping: In full disclosure, I feel that I should say that my kids do other work, as well.  ;)  I don't always mention the school work they do, but they're always busy doing math, reading, spelling, etc.  You know, the 3 R's...  We get to that stuff *almost* every day.  One of the things I'm really proud of, is the notebooking Elise has been doing this year.  Her binder is full of really great copy work, observations, and scrapbook pages.  Millie is doing a notebooking journal too, but for some reason hers doesn't have as much stuff in it as Elise's.  I guess that's something to work on.  :)  See Millie practicing the piano?  I couldn't get a good picture, because as soon as she saw the flash go off, she turned to make a silly face.  Man, I love that kid!!!  The apple really doesn't fall far from the tree!

Find out what other homeschoolers were up to this week, here.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Brownies, Ballet Tuesday, and SciGirls Light bulb Challenge

Welp, my kids are officially sick of learning about astronomy.  They're ready to move on.  They'd like to learn more about animals, but next on our agenda is more earth science.  What is a mama to do?  Go with my plan, or let them lead with their interests??  I know the answer to that, but it's really hard for me to veer off my plan...

We had a nice week. It started out busy, but ended really lazy and nice.  I love having a few at-home days.  They seem to be becoming fewer and farther between.

Here's what we did this week:


Piano was cancelled today, so I got to sleep in a bit!  It was fabulous.  Millie had her co-op classes, and Elise and I had nothing planned.  It was fantastic!  We came home, made brownies, and hung out until we had to get Millie.  After class, we powered through a few Harmony Ed worksheets so I could submit my receipts for reimbursement.  We made some good progress!  I'm ready for the "mandatory worksheet" period of our life to be over.  Oh well, I'm just happy to be getting $ back from our purchases this year!


Today was Millie's first book club meeting!  This is one of our new Tuesday plans that will be happening since playgroup has been cancelled.  Lucky for her, almost everyone from playgroup is in book club!  They read the book Holes, which Millie liked, but does NOT want to watch the movie.  While she was at book club, I had the pleasure of taking Elise and her BFF to Ballet Tuesday at the Landmark Center.  We had a picnic lunch, watched the ballerinas, and made a lot of random stops around Downtown, looking at "things."  They say the journey is half the fun, right?  That was definitely the case today!  It was super fun, and super adorable.


S-C-I-G-I-R-L-S, we neeeed you!  Today was a SciGirls day!  The girls learned about reducing, reusing, & recycling, conducted an experiment to test the energy output from compact fluorescent light bulbs vs. incandescent light bulbs, and had an artist for Art Scraps come in to make jewelry/sculptures out of recycled objects.  The kids came up with some really creative designs!  Elise spent the day with grandma.  They went to Target, had Chinese food for lunch, and had school.  School at Grandmas?  Yep, Elise said they read out of the "Everything Your 3rd Grader Needs to Know" book.  Fun!

Fractions: The Aftermath

A much needed day at home!  I decided to take the day off (my) school,  The girls and I spent the day doing some history (we learned more about Greece) in addition to regular school work.  This is the day I found out that the kids are sick of astronomy.  ;)


Another lazy stay at home day!  It was fantastic.  We did school work, and in the evening I dropped Millie off at a friends house for a sleep over.

It was a nice low key week!  Find out what other homeschoolers were up to, here.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Jr. First Lego League, Frida Kahlo, and the Bell Museum

This has been such a fun week!  It was full and stress free :)  I learned something that I need to do differently (more about that later).  It seems that I have a big revelation each week.  He he.  Live and learn, right?

Here's what we did this week:


Piano...co-op...and Jr. First Lego League!  Lego league was great, as usual.  We started digging into the really fun stuff, and brought out the technic Legos for the team to explore.  They worked on their own creations, then received the challenge to build a car.  Class ended with a little friendly race, boys vs. girls. Fun times!  Elise made a necklace out of a gear.  Grandpa would be proud ;)


Today was their first day of art class!  We're meeting up two times per month to do art with a group of other kids, using the Meet the Masters curriculum.  The day before class, we watched a slide show about Frida Kahlo, so my girls knew all about her life, and what inspired her paintings.  I was really impressed by the artwork that all the kids created in class!!  We had a really talented group ;) I should also mention that this class is being held at the most beautiful library.  I need to find out the history of it.  When we got home, we did our regular school work.  When that was done, Elise made more art.  In fact, she'd proceeded to spend all her free time over the next few days making fruit art.  It's pretty sweet!!


Today we woke up bright and early and met friends at a nature center.  It was so nice out (60's in November in Minnesota?  Yes, please!).  The kids threw rocks in the river, chit chatted, made their own Mad Lib's, you know, regular kid stuff ;)  I had good mommy chit chat time.  It was nice!  Afterwards, we went home, had lunch, and drove to Iowa because it was sunny there, and we wanted to soak up the last rays before winter.  It was quite the impromptu adventure!  There are so many cute little towns on the way down there!  We decided we'll do that trip again when we have more time, and can spend the night somewhere.  We'd like to go on an Amish tour, and check out a Norwegian museum that Bud read about when he was mapping our route.


Our day started out normal, with our regular old school lessons (math, reading, spelling, literature, you know...the basics).  In the afternoon I would normally have class, but my class was cancelled, sort of.  I still had to DO class during class time, but it was on my own.  We had to go up to the Cathedral of St. Paul to look at religious symbols.  It was so interesting!  The girls have both been there, but neither of them remember it.  We spent a lot of quality time looking at the paintings, statues, stained glass, images of saints, and of course, the giant Lego Cathedral in the basement.  


Field Trip Friday!  This week we went the Bell Museum of Natural History.  I didn't think I had been there before, but there was a display that I remember so vividly (a bog that we get to walk through), that I think I must have been there for a field trip when I was really little.  Anywhooo, we started out watching a presentation about space, then listening to a naturalist talk about the displays, and then we got to explore in the touch & see room, where the kids got to touch a snake, look at bones, and so much more.  It was really great!  Millie originally wasn't going to come, but when we left she said, "I'm really glad I came."  Here's the part I learned this week:  When setting up field trips, I really need  organize two to be going on at the same time.  One for older kids, and one for younger.  The class was great for Elise, but waaaaaay too simple for Millie.  

We took the train :)

It was a great week!  Tonight we have our annual 4-H banquet.  I'm so excited!!

Find out what other homeschoolers were up to this week, here!