29 Palms Creative Center & Art Gallery

There’s all kind of art going on out at the 29 Palms Creative Center & Art Gallery!

“The Creative Center offers a wide variety of art activities for children, adults and groups to celebrate birthdays, ladies-night-out and school field trips.”

Mini Maker Fair in North San Diego – June

You have to add this to your calendar! I realize that it’s not in the desert but it should be well worth the drive to Vista for the day. Not only is there an Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum SHOW but there will be a Mini Maker Fair as well!

The show is on the weekend of June 18 & 19 in Vista, CA. The cost is $10 per person. Click here for more details and purchase tickets!



I used to love origami when I was a kid. I had a little book of about ten different things to make and I made them over and over again, armies of birds and frogs!

Today was the last day of the first session of our homeschool group’s “enrichment meetings” and I decided try some origami out with the kids. Personally, I think it went over pretty well!

First we talked a bit about origami. I found this awesome article online about Origami & Math. It has great basic information that got me thinking and some links to books and other sites. We had talked a little about topology earlier in the session and I was thinking origami was topology…I was right! I love the connections I find when learning naturally.

I found a great list of step-by-step instructions on Origami Instructions (clever site name). It has videos as well. These really helped me because sometimes I just can’t see how they went from one picture to the next no matter how hard I try. Another great site I found was Origami Resource Center. I liked the way they organized their instructions, but they don’t have videos. I’m sure if you went to YouTube and searched for the one you wanted to do, someone has made a video of it!

I decided to show them how to make a jumping frog. Action ones are so much more fun! After we made them, we raced them across the table two at a time until we had an ultimate winner. It was pretty exciting. Then we hopped each one across the table and wrote down how many hops it took for each frog. We wrote it all down and found the median and the average number of hops.

It was an hour of fun! I want to sit and make an army of frogs now, but dinner needs to be made for my family.

What in the world is a lapbook?

We’re already through half of the first session of our small homeschool group’s enrichment classes. I think they have gone really well! We’re already talking about the next six week session. While I was scrolling through my homeschool feeds, I came across lapbook ideas and thought it might be fun to do one with our group. I found the idea years ago when my boys were little and tried a couple times with them, but they never were very big into arts and crafts so it really didn’t go over big. But I think it might work well with our group. And it might go well with your family, too!

The great part about lapbooks is that you can use them with a large range of ages. Younger children can do simpler parts and older children can do the more complex parts. Older kids can help the younger ones as well. It can lead younger children to bigger ideas and give the older kids experience in helping others.

Lapbooks also come in a range of prices, even free. You can also buy them fully laid out for you, you can use pieces of one, or make one up on your own. Our group is probably going to use a free one from Homeschoolshare. You download it and everything from the lesson plan to printouts are all ready to do. I’ll just read through it and pick out which ones we’ll do each week. I’ll send some parts home with the kids so they can work on them at home if they want to do more.

But what is a lapbook?! It’s a manila folder you fold in such a way to make a book cover. On it and in it kids cut, paste, color, and write related to a certain topic or book. We’re going to do a book we’ll be reading together. You can have research about things in the book, vocabulary words, creative writing, art, history, math, science, all related to the book inside the cover of your lab book. At the end you have a representation to look at and keep of all the things we learned while reading the book. It’s pretty cool.

I was inspired to do this because when we did the Sierpinski Triangles so many of our awesome kids came back with some pretty spectacular artwork. It looks like we have a crafty bunch and I bet they’d like to do something like this with me.

How to Homeschool for Free has a list of websites that offer lapbook printables. You’ll have to look around and find one you really like. Take your kids with you while you online shop. They’ll learn so much more if they are doing a topic they are interested in learning more about.

By the way, I think the reason I really like the lapbook idea is because it follows a principle we’ve had about reading to the kids. We’ve always read aloud to the kids. When they were tiny they’d each pick a bedtime story and then I’d read a chapter from a book I thought they might be interested in. These books were harder than anything they would have been able to read on their own. And it wasn’t time to sit quietly and listen. There were many stops and starts for questions. Some of the words they didn’t know and I had to explain. Sometimes I had to tell them what might have been happening when the story was set. Or one of the kids felt they just had to comment about the situation being read. Labooking just extends what we do outloud onto paper and adds an element of crafts. We still read aloud as a family, although they’ve gotten beyond bedtime stories now. This has been pretty much they only type of school they know. Reading, discussing, watching, questioning, and experiencing. It has done amazing things for our family, not only for them but for their Dad and I too!

Paper Toys!

Now here’s something fun to do on rainy days or super hot ones in our neck of the woods! A whole website of printable paper toys! Be sure to Paypal Donate a couple dollars if you decide to print these regularly. The site offers them for free but you know they put a lot of work into having them there for you. Be cool and help them keep going!


One of the best things a homeschooler can invest in is a black and white laser printer. It sounds more expensive than it is really. I got a Dell 1110 8 years ago on Amazon for $200 and have loved it. The toner is pretty cheap if you buy refurbished and it doesn’t dry up between printings. Rarely did we ever really need anything in color and when we did we just ran down to the office supply with the document on a thumb drive to print it. Color laser printers are much more expensive!