Halloween with the GBA!

I love Halloween these days… we have been focusing on creating costumes rather than buying them, and this year was another creative year!
Lauren, 7 years old… Miley Cyrus/Hanna Montana

This was a FUN costume to do with the “best of both worlds” options!
She was Miley during the day for our homeschool gathering and Hanna for the trick or treat festivities!


Lauren wore a new pair of jeans (and the only reason they are new is because the girl had the nerve to GROW!) and a “bling” decorated pink top… the jacket was a “dress up” item from Grandma Rosalia… all I bought was a blonde wig and the little microphone headset.

She looks great!

Douglas wanted to be his favorite cartoon network character – Ben 10. We saw a costume in the stores for over $30.00… and I knew I could make it. White t-shirt, black paint, some kakhi pants and wa-la = Ben 10! Douglas never was able to make the omnitrix transform him into an alien – but he keeps trying!

Megan had her heart set on being a witch. Score – A witch is such an easy costume to make – I even have black sheets I could have used… but my little girl wanted NOTHING to do with Mommy making the costume because she had seen one in the store and fell in love… sheet draping I can do – full on costume sewing, not so much — so I did purchase this witch costume for about $10 at K-Mart..it came with the hat, so score on that one! Megan’s daytime look was simple and “clean” – her night time look just added some green face paint for a more “witchy” appearance.

Here are my three cuties all together.

So my creativity does not end with the kids… since before Douglas was born, the buddies have dressed for halloween as well…


Left we have Quackers, the Snow Princess… Center we have Big Baboo the Cave Man (er, Cave Whale??), and on the Right we have Bulloney the Vampire – fangs and all!

I hope you all had a safe happy Halloween!

I really have been teaching all this time!

It has been awhile since I’ve shared any adventures in learning with you…. While some of my time got mis-approprated and school took on more “free thinking” than usual – we have been up to a lot at the Gandara Bug Academy.

The End of September was Field Trip time… Daddy was home and we took our annual trip to the LA County Fair. The bugs had to read 9 books and they got to turn those in for ride tickets, (From the Fair – what a $ saver!) so we spent a lot of time exploring the wonderful world of physics while riding carnival rides. Here are a few of my favorites:

Lauren and Douglas on the Dragon Ride. Oh yes, they are all by themselves… for those that know me, thank you I can hear you clapping for me. I prayed the whole time!

Megan rode the baloon ride no less than 5 times… it was about all we could get her to go on!

Ahhh the “new” colored slide was a FAST favorite… Here Daddy and Dougga happily skid to a halt at the bottom of the slide.

Lauren ( again take note – she is by herself) happily comes down!


This was the Crazy coaster and there was no way she was going by herself— so Daddy got the job! Daddy and Doodles rode quite a few rides together!

After the Fair we went on a “Safari” to view animals in their natural habitat…

AKA the San Deigo Wild Animal Park.

This trip was amazing… to hear the kids talk and spout out information at random never ceases to amaze me… and the fact that their information is accurate and inteligent amazed Daddy!

Here are some Favorites from the Wild Animal Park:

My three Bugs, sitting on a hippo!

Here I am, Anthony is hiding in the bushes, do you se him? Ha ha!


Douglas riding the Gorilla on the Merry – go – round!

Daddy and the Goose, looking at bird eggs! This was a great hands-on display!


Daddy gives doodles a better view!

All our field trips got me off schedule, and I had to catch up on the laundry! So school resumed in October with more Dinosaur learning! I’ll share some of those lessons another day!

How Big Were the Dinosaurs? A lesson YOU can use!

Today the Gandara Bug Academy found out!
We took a quick trip to our local park where there was PLENTY of room!
With just a few minutes of prep, and a LOT of ribbon or string, you too can explore how big the Dinosaurs were!
You need Ribbon or String that measures:
2 feet (Compsognathus)
30 feet (Triceratops)
35 feet (Allosaurus)
40 Feet (Tyrannosaurus Rex)
85 feet (Diplodocus)
150 feet (Seismosaurus)
I measured out each length, sometimes attaching two or three different colors together when needed. Then I wound it up and put it in a zip top bag labled with the name of the dinosaur and the number of feet of ribbon. The 180 feet for the seismosaurus ended up very, very tangled – so I recommend wrapping it around a spool or paper towel holder to avoid the tangles. 180 feet is a REALLY BIG DINOSAUR!

I also went to this Awesome Website and printed pictures of each of the dinosaurs so the bugs had something to visualize – kinda putting a face with a name!
Here’s what we did… I started off with the Story, How Big Were the Dinosaurs by Bernard Most.

You can find it at your local library, or through Amazon (the link is the book title)… if you have another favorite book on dinosaur size – use that one! I just think tying lessons to literature make both the lesson and the book more meaningful – so you will see LOTS of lessons based on books this year!
Then we drove over to the local park and let the fun begin.

The kids pulled out the bags of string and we looked at the pictures of the dinosaur. Then One person stood and held one end of the string while the others ran off as far as the string would go!

Lauren runs off to see how big the Triceratops is, while Megan holds the other end!


Lauren arrives at the end of her rope ( ha ha!)

Douglas shows us the 2 foot Compsognathus!

And below you can see Megan and Douglas wayyyyy off in the distance showing us how big the Diplodocus was (85feet) -about 20 feet LONGER than Daddy’s truck!

Now – as I mentioned above – We were unable to see just how big the Seismosaurus was due to severe tangling issues – but I’ll re-wrap the ribbon and we’ll head back to the park on our next day out! Trust me this Dino was HUGE!

When we got home We compared a Tyrannosaurus’ footprint to our footprint. All you need for this activity is some sidewalk chalk and a ruler!

First I drew an outline of the Tyrant Lizzard King’s footprint on the sidewalk. (hint: Tyrant Lizzard = the T rex, and his footprint was 28 inches. Do a Google Search and you’ll see some samples on which to base your drawing. )

Next all three bugs stepped into the outline one at a time.



Then I used a different color chalk and traced around each bug’s foot.
The bugs used rulers to measure their footprint – then we went inside to record the results on a worksheet. It was a very simple basic sheet:
The Footprint of A Tyrannosaurus is 28 inches long. My footprint is _______ inches long. The T- Rex’s Foot is ____ inches longer than my foot.
I hope you have as much fun with this lesson as we did! Check back for more Adventures in Homeschooling with the GBA! (Gandara Bug Academy)

GBA opens for the 2008-2009 School Year

Douglas’ First Day of Kindergarten
September 2, 2008
4 Years Old
Teacher: Mrs. Crabtree

… Another wonderful year of Home Schooling started today! Today my “baby” started Kindergarten – and I didn’t even cry — that’s because, as usual we were all here at home! We are using the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne as a basis for all studies this year and the kids are very excited and involved in their learning.

The Bugs woke up excited as can be to a PILE of new school supplies on the table. We took pictures showing off the favorite new item.

Lauren’s Favorite new supply was a Pencil Sharpener


Megan’ Favorite was a ruled notebook


And Douglas’ favorite was the set of glitter glue – boy I’m in trouble with this one!

Since the bugs had not seen Mrs. Crabtree for a whole month they wanted sharing time:

Lauren, who is beginning the Second Grade, went to the playroom and gathered toy dinos and proceeded to tell everyone the Stegosaurus has a brain the size of a walnut – she was sorry she did not have an actual walnut so we could see – believe me she rattled off some fact or another for each dinosaur.

Megan, entering First Grade, went to her room an gathered “nature” items – lots of rocks, because the “Earth’s Crust is Rocks” (in case you were wondering!) You can see a rock painted as a chicken, a gift from one of our friends, and a flower sticker from Aunt Valerie – because “Flowers are nature”.

Douglas brought his shirt for Sharing because it is a dinosaur shirt and we are beginning this year with Dinosaurs.

Every morning, school starts with prayer and a call to Daddy, we mark his location on our wall map and then fill him in on all the happenings! Today Daddy gave the bugs each a “talking to” so they behave for Mrs. Crabtree.

Douglas points to today on our calendar… and gathers supplies to stuff in his back pack….

Here are the bugs hard at work in the classroom… notice the feet. I love home schooling! No need to buy new school shoes! (Don’t worry I didn’t actually save money – I just bought more crayons and markers, and pencils…)

We finished off our day with a Field Trip to Wendy’s for lunch and the Grocery Store for a lesson in Economics 🙂

It’s going to be a great year!