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DIY Autumn Fairy Wings

My 3 year old decided she wanted to be an autumn nature fairy for Halloween this year, so I set out to make her a pair of autumn themed fairy wings. We had recently used contact paper and some pressed autumn leaves to make placemats with neat autumn leaf art, so I thought I could try using a similar method to make some wings. After a little bit of trial and error, we came up with a method that worked and the wings came out gorgeous!



Instructions:

To make your own set of autumn fairy wings, you will need:
- an old pair of costume wings (Dollar Tree wings work great)
-clear contact paper
-pressed dried leaves 
-scissors
-clear tape
-gold glitter (optional)

Before you can get started making your wings, you will need some autumn leaves. You can collect your own outside and press and dry them inside a heavy book or with a flower press. It typically takes a couple days for the leaves to completely dry. We noticed leaves with really deep colors like red and bright oranges, tend to keep their color as…
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Rebuilding Paradise: Life One Year After the Camp Fire

A year ago today our lives were changed forever when the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history, swept through and destroyed most of our little foothill community. If you haven't read my family's Camp Fire story already, you can read it here. Even a full year later, it still feels so surreal to me, like a bad dream I might eventually wake up from. While the rest of the world has moved on and shifted their focus onto other topics and other disasters, we living here, in and around the burn scar, are all still dealing with the aftermath of such enormous devastation. 



Living through an event like this, seeing everyone you know loose everything, knowing how close you and everyone you know came to not escaping that day, changes you. It's a year later and I still wake up in the middle of the night, panicked, wondering where I am some nights. The tiniest bit of smoke in the air gets me throwing our belongings into bags, just incase we have to l…

Plant Identification With Kids

An activity we frequently do on our nature walks and family hikes is practicing identifying plants we come across. Sometimes we purposefully set out to forge for a favorite snack or medical herb, and sometimes we just practice identifying random plants and trees, either way it's always a fun way to learn about the natural world around us.


Why You Should Teach Your Kids To ID Plants:
One of the reasons I teach my kids how to identify local plant life is so that they know what plants are edible, which have medicinal properties, and which plants to stay away from. My kids love foraging for blackberries, grapes, and other wild growing fruit. We also regularly forage for wild herbs like plantain, dandelion, yarrow, and elderberries to use in medicinal salves and tinctures. It's important for them to know that they are picking the right plants and not something harmful or poisonous.

Plant identification is also a great way for kids to connect with nature and learn about plant life in g…

A Week in the Life of an Eclectic Homeschooler

I've been wanting to do a "day in the life of" post for awhile, but since our days tend to be so varied, any single day wouldn't be a very accurate look at what learning really looks like in our household. Instead, I've decided to share about an entire homeschool week, I think this will be a better way to share about our approach to learning.



We don't have a specific time that we wake up or start our school day. We wake up when we're ready and usually make a real breakfast and get cleaned up and dressed for the day before we get started. I'll spare you the boring daily details and mostly just share about our learning experiences each day.

Monday:
We are currently living in an apartment without on site laundry, so every Monday, we pack up our laundry baskets and some school work and head to the laundry mat after breakfast. Since we're stuck sitting around the laundry mat anyway, it's the perfect time to get a little reading or a couple worksheets …

Autumn Leaf Paper Lantern Craft

I love fall time. There's so many pretty colors and the weather is perfect for nature hikes. Last week my girls collected a bunch of beautiful fall leaves while exploring in the park. We took some home to sketch in our nature journals and to use for a fall themed descriptive writing activity. Afterwards we stuck them in books to press and dry. Today we pulled them out a used them for making beautiful paper lanterns.



How To Make Autumn Leaf Paper Lanterns:

For this craft you will need:
-A variety of autumn leaves (real or artificial)
-Contact paper
-Construction paper
-School glue
-Flameless tea light candles

First you'll need to take a nature walk in your neighborhood, the park, or even your backyard, and collect some pretty autumn leaves. Bring them inside and stick them inside a couple heavy books and set them aside for a few days to dry flat.



To get started on your lantern, cut two identical rectangles of contact paper 12 inches by 9 inches. Peel the backing off of one of the rectan…

How to Homeschool in California: Options and Resources

When I first set out to homeschool, figuring out my legal options was a little overwhelming, it took me awhile to figure it all out. Now that I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of all the options available to homeschooling families in California, I'd like to share that information with anyone looking to get started on their homeschooling journey.



The 5 Ways To Legally Homeschool In California:

-File a private school affidavit with the state: You can establish a private school in your own home by filing a private school affidavit with the state each year. This might sound like a lot of work, but it isn't. It's a single two page form that you can file online every year between October 1st and October 15th.

This option allows a lot of freedom. There are no testing requirements and no curriculum requirements. You are required to teach the core subjects typically taught in school, but how you do that is completely up to you. You are required to do a minimum of 180 days…

Childhood Bucket List: 50 Things Every Child Should Get a Chance to Experience

Childhood is a magical season of life, full of curiosity and wonder. All kids should get ample opportunities to explore and experience the fascinating world around them. I created this list of things I want my kids to experience before they reach adulthood. Read through it, and then let me know what you would add to the list!



-Catch tadpoles

-Build a fort

-Climb a tree

-Go fishing



-Watch the sunrise 

-Watch the sunset

-Go camping 

-Roast marshmallows 



-Swim in a lake

-Play in a creek

-Watch a thunderstorm 

-Play in the rain

-Make mud pies



-Walk barefoot on the earth

-Build a sand castle 

-Play in the ocean

-Collect sea shells

-Sleep under the stars

-Splash in puddles

-Catch an insect

-Make a wish on a dandelion



-Watch a meteor shower

-Paint a mural

-Fly a kite

-Hunt for painted rocks

-Hike in the forest



-Hug a tree

-Pick wild berries

-Build a snowman 

-Grow a plant from a seed

-Search for four leaf clovers

-Make flower chains

-Rescue earthworms after a rainstorm 

-Play in a pile of autumn leaves



-Make leaf rubbings

-Go …