Welcome From Mama Bee

Thanks for dropping by The Hive!

We work to weave our homeschool days around our faith, our subtropical climate, and our coastal landscape.

Hopefully this will provide a small spot for our family and friends to follow along with our traveling, gardening, and homeschooling adventures!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Santa Lucia Morning

Dear Readers, how is this for 'same-day blogging'! The Worker Bees awoke in the pre-dawn light...oh excuse me...there was no pre-dawn light, that was later. The Worker Bees woke us up at freakin' 330AM...it was so hard to be reverent, but they were cute...and they brought coffee...that made it easier!

Yesterday, Papa Bee helped me measure the boys' dear little heads and we sat up and made Star Boy hats after tucking the Worker Bees into bed.

Knightly made Star Wands for both Sprocket and himself.

Here they are in their pre-dawn glory staring at the lovely Salmon and Goat Cheese Strata I made for breakfast! Did I mention how happy I was that I prepped all of the food and beverages the night before! Phew...and I didn't even know that the revelry would sound so early!

Here we go, with Horsie-Girl in all of her Lucia glory carrying the coffee for Papa Bee!

Hope that you had as lovely of a morning; albeit, hopefully starting a bit later!

Mama Bee

Friday, December 12, 2008


So, Dear Readers, I decided that it was high time to clear off the counter and dig out our watercolors! A friend of mine has a honeypot of an ebook that gives 52 watercolor activities that I can do with the worker bees (Pssst...her name is Kristie, and you can buzz over to see her stuff at www.earthschooling.com!).

Best of all, for a 'Watercolor Traumatized' mama bee like me, her projects are simple and non-intimidating!

Traumatized you ask?! Absolutely!

When the Worker Bees were 1, 2, and 3 years old, some crazy, over-achiever, homeschool guru convinced me to set up my baby bees with watercolor activities! Well...the baby bees had a blast doing everything except watercoloring! They ate the paper, chewed on the brushes, and dumped the water, but no painting!

Deep Breath!

The baby bees have grown up into nice, polite worker bees now, and have the greatest respect for our materials! I haven't had to pull a brush out of anyone's mouth in years!

Anyway, here is some of what we did yesterday! No Messes, No Tears, It was a Good Day!

In honor of Santa Lucia's day on Saturday, we worked with Kristie's Lucia Watercolor activity that is prepared 'hidden picture' style. Which means, that you follow the story and don't know exactly what the picture will be until you finish...great fun!

Here is my painting.

Horsie-Girl didn't ~exactly~ follow along with what I was doing, but she always takes the most care and has the lightest colors of all of us.

Much to my surprise, Knightly followed along with me; although, as usual his is the boldest, drippiest painting of all!

I thought that Sprocket's was the most interesting. He followed Horsie-Girl and put his red lines (candles) all around the outside of the ring, then he looked up and saw how I had done mine. He took his wet sponge and 'erased' his lines. By the time he was ready to repaint them, everyone had figured out what the picture was of (Lucia's Crown), and he painted them from the perspective of looking down on Lucia's head. Sprocket even commented that it looked like her head was underneath. Confirming my suspicion that Sprocket views the world from about a 45 degree different perspective than the rest of us! :D

After we finished with the Lucia Crowns, we set them to the side to dry and everyone painted whatever they wanted.

Knightly painted a Sphinx (maybe a subtle hint for me to get the Egypt Block prepped??)

Horsie-Girl painted a red dolphin with a school of fish. She took great care painting the water around the little fishies.

Sprocket painted two shades of blue on his paper, and then he 'lifted out' a polar bear. The picture here really doesn't do it justice, it really looks like a polar bear in real life! (Pssst...the polar bear's nose is the upper-left part of the white area in the middle!).

Gotta go run check the gingerbread cookies that in are the oven for our Lucia Celebration tomorrow! If I'm not too dazed and confused getting up at the crack of dawn...I'll take some pictures to post here! Horsie-Girls crown is a thing of beauty, and...um...Oh Dear! We need to get going with the Star Boy hats!

Buzzing off!

Mama Bee

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Luminaries Festival 2008


A really great thing about the desert is all of the festivals! This was our third year to attend the luminaries festival. The Desert Botanical Gardens lines the paths with hundreds of luminaries...and Dear Reader, even with three worker bees in tow, I've found it to be a reverent, magical experience every time!


We like to walk along the lighted paths, listen to the local music, and sip hot cocoa in the lighted pavilions.


And if you get too cold, lots of open fires to get ya buzzing again!

Happy Advent to You and Yours!

Mama Bee

Friday, December 5, 2008

First Week of Advent: The Week of the Stones

Ahhhh, Advent is here. Candlelight, hot chocolate, family music, reading by the fire...traditions that we have built up over the years. We set up our Advent Table and make a table-top spiral through the season. Every night, the kids will each add one thing to the spiral, and we watch it grow! Our Mary and Joseph are magic and journey through the house towards the stable on our table...always arriving right on time Christmas Eve!

Meanwhile, our Christmas Angel waits patiently on top of the stable with the Baby Jesus.

We start each evening with the same song, Waldorf families will recognize it as a verse written by Rudolf Steiner that has been set to music. This week's stanza goes:
The First Light of Advent
Is the Light of Stones
Light that lives in Seashells
In Crystals and in Bones

We get a bit literal and attend the local gem and mineral show, which is conveniently held this week every year!

Wishing you and yours a Happy Advent Season!

Mama Bee

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

November Geography Block: Making a Volcano

So, to round out our experience, we came home and created a paper maiche volcano.

First we started with a bag of CelluClay from our national chain craft store (who I don't like well enough to plug here! LOL). The Worker Bees all got their hands in the bowl to mix it up.

Then Papa Bee dug a plastic water bottle out of our recycle bin and the Worker Bees helped him cover it in newspaper.

They completely covered it.

Then, they wrapped it in foil.

Then they added water.

Time to add the paper stuff!

Nice and smooth! Now it was time to put it in a safe dark place where the Worker Bees would forget about for a few days so it could dry.

A coat of paint, and it is ready to explode!

After the paint drys, we'll pop some baking soda and vinagar down in the water bottle with a little bit of red food coloring to make it more 'lava like', and let 'er rip!

I'll try to take pictures!

Mama Bee

November Geography Block: Ice Caves and the Bandera Volcano

Also in the Malpais National Park is the privately owned Bandera Volcano and Ice Caves.

Here is the trek down to see the Ice Cave, which the self-guided tour pamphlet tells us was a year-round source of water for Native Americans in the area.

Here are Papa Bee and the Worker Bees gazing upon the green ice in the Ice Cave. And why is the ice green you ask? Well, our handy self-guided tour pamphlet informs us that there is some sort of Artic Algea that grows in it. Pretty Cool huh?

A rather steep and uncomfortably cold (we're Southern Bees Darlin') hike up the Bandera Volcano rewarded us with this view.

Then, we all buckled in tight for the long trip home! I would have liked to stop at one of the many hot springs in the area...just for educational purposes Darlin'...not because of my achy knees at all! ;P

November Geography Block: Lava Flows

After we left the Capulin Volcano, we drove several hours on the Santa Fe Trail towards Taos.

This is pretty exotic stuff for desert kids who never get to see trees!

We went south from Taos down to the lava flows at El Malpais. It snowed that day, and the irony of ogling lava flows in the snow was not lost on the Worker Bees! I was amazed at how the flows could be clearly distinguished from the grass-lands.

We also saw some pretty amazing scenery.

Papa Bee took the Worker Bees hiking up the trail, I'm afraid Dear Readers, that my knees have determined that my serious hiking days are over...Big Sigh!

However, even my old knees could hike along the easy trail to get rewarded by this awesome view of the Natural Arch.

November Geography Block: Capulin Volcano

Whoops! I let November slide by without a post!

Well, Dear Readers, we were busy, busy, buzzing around the state of New Mexico for our Waldorf-Inspired Geography Block. You see, in Waldorf Education, it is recommended to do a local/regional geography block in fourth grade. And, lo and behold (!), we have a fourth grader in the house. Really and truly...it doesn't seem possible that my sweet curly-headed toddler is running around with stinky feet and eating everything in sight! I have been jokingly been saying that we must have a plague of locusts in the house the way the food disappears!

Okay...back to geography! We've taken several road trips through the area, so I wanted to have a specific focus. We picked volcanoes. We drove seven hours up to Capulin to see the National Volcano Monument. If you are into Volcanoes, this is SO worth the trip!

Here is the Capulin Volcano seen from the road.

The Worker Bees were SO impressed that there was snow at the top!

Here is the view from the top, I'm...um...a bit slower than the Worker Bees moving down the trail!

Here is Papa Bee with Horsie-Girl and Sprocket at the bottom.

And, here is the view from the bottom of the Worker Bees running back to the top!

After we all made it back up to the top, we walked the 'rim trail', and then we headed off for lunch!