First Day of School 2023

I decided to do something different this year, and start the new school year on a Friday, so we could spend a day doing only the fun, first-day-of-school stuff, and not worry about diving into the work until next week. Last night, I made sure the school room was ready to go…I made a few minor changes this year, but for the most part, our setup is the same as it has been:

I also got the Schultüte assembled:

After we look through our materials for the year, pictures are always a priority:

I decided we needed a fun outing to kick things off, so we drove all the way to Livingston, IL (about 40 minutes away) to the Twistee Treat Diner at The Pink Elephant for ice cream cones. It’s on Historic Route 66, and we’ve driven by it every time we’ve gone to Chicago, and I thought the time was finally right to check it out!

Would it even be the first day of school if we didn’t build a Lego set? I decided the Disney Villains Icons set would be a nice bridge from our fairy tale themed summer school…it’s a very clever set, and the girls let me build the Sleeping Beauty part. We’ll just ignore the hard time they gave me over the VHS tape build!

A (poison) apple for the teacher!

Ladybug requested a special dinner from Lilo and Stitch: The Official Cookbook. She really wanted to try the Pelekai Sweet and Sour Pork, and it was excellent! I also made a super decadent, super chocolatey cheesecake for dessert.

I really liked starting the school year this way…it was nice not to have to immediately get started on our actual work! I think we just might do it this way again next year (which will be Ladybug’s last first day of school with me)!

The Happiest Trip on Earth–Day Three

Disneyland–32,673 steps

We saved Disneyland for our second (and final) theme park…seeing the train station for the first time was just as much of a thrill as it was at Disney World!

We got to watch the welcome show that is held on the steps leading up to the station when the park opens. The characters (minus Donald and Daisy, sadly), were all were their beautiful Disney 100 costumes!

We decided to take care of two things at once, and rode the Disneyland Railroad (something I really wanted to do since its Disney World counterpart was closed last summer) to the back of the park (where we wanted to get coffee).

What I didn’t realize is that station was practically on top of “It’s a Small World!” So we rode that first thing, and I loved it (of course)!

We then made our way to the Alice in Wonderland area, where not only do they have the teacups (a different experience because in California, they’re fully out in the open), but a second Alice-themed ride as well. And we ran into Alice herself, plus, the Mad Hatter!

We also visited New Orleans, home of the Haunted Mansion and beignets, and also Princess Tiana!

We wanted to make sure we saw the Sword in the Stone and the Wishing Well, since we missed both of those things at Disney World. Sadly, none of us was worthy to remove the sword, but we did all get to make a wish!

We were lucky that the “Star Wars Month” events were still going on while we were, and Turkey and Bunny got to ride “Hyperspace Mountain.” While they did that, I walked around and took some pictures of the castle (and let a Disney photographer take a photo of me!). Not as grand as the Cinderella Castle, but still lovely!

We walked back to the castle when they were done, and I found someone to take our picture:

The Disney photographers also got some nice pictures of the three of us:

And then we headed over to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. I’m pretty sure there are some minor differences, but it felt pretty much the same as the Disney World version! We got to have ronto wraps for lunch, and do some shopping and sightseeing.

One of the things Turkey and Bunny were most looking forward to, though, was having another lightsaber building experience at Savi’s Workshop (especially since they updated the parts since last summer). It was pretty cool to just get to be an observer this time, and watch other people do the work!

We didn’t see the Mandalorian and The Child, but we did get to meet Boba Fett!

We didn’t get to go on Rise of the Resistance because it was either shut down or the line was two hours long or it closed early (that was probably the biggest regret of the whole trip), but we did go on Smuggler’s Run…I got to blow things up!

After that, we walked through Downtown Disney on our way to dinner. Of course we had to stop at the Lego Store and admire their creations:

I really like this beautiful floral display:

And then we went to the Disneyland hotel to have dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen…it was so much fun! (Full details to come…)

After our meal, we hopped on the monorail to get back to the park:

We rode Star Tours (always a fun experience), and then went in search of Dole Whips:

We were barely able to find a place to view the fireworks…the crowd was massive!

The park is open for a couple of hours after the fireworks, so we had time for a few more things. We were three minutes late for Rise of the Resistance, so we headed toward Runaway Railway, instead. I love how the line is set up like a museum dedicated to Mickey Mouse!

After that, Turkey and Bunny decided to ride the Matterhorn while I took care of what was left of our shopping, and took some more pictures:

We rode the teacups one more time, and even managed to get on Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

We shut the park down (which I would somewhat regret the next day), and didn’t get back to our hotel until about 12:30. It was really hard to get to sleep after all that excitement and knowing we had a full day of travel ahead of us!

2022-23 School Year–Week Thirty-Two

That’s it for the 2022-23 school year! This was a pretty light week, focused on wrapping things up. Ladybug and Chickadee took their final tests and finished what they needed to in various books. We also had one last field trip…a visit to Grant’s Farm for Maifest. I thought this was a great way to end the year, especially since our Christmas School was focused on learning about Christmas in Germany, and Chickadee has so diligently studied German with Duolingo this year.

We ended the year the way we began…with a Disney-themed Lego set. This one is an art set of Minnie Mouse that is a companion to the piece we built back in August, and they actually connect to make one large picture!

In some ways, I don’t feel like I put in as much effort as I should have this my 15th year of homeschooling. It was a complicated year, schedule-wise, and I felt stretched pretty thin. I’m already looking forward to all of the things we’ll be doing next year, though, and hopefully I’ll make up for the lack of energy I had this year!

The Lego Disney Castle

As promised, here’s a look at the completed Lego Disney Castle:

And here are some of my favorite details:

This was a really fun project for Advent, and a great way to end a very Disney-themed year!

Advent 2022–Day Twenty-Eight

Today is the final day of Advent 2022, and Turkey completed the Lego Disney Castle. He built the rest of the final tower, which includes a nice spot for a watchman (or Donald Duck), and the he put all the castle pieces together.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a look at the full castle!

Advent 2022–Day Twenty-Seven

Ladybug continued building the big tower for the Lego Disney Castle today:

And she added vignettes representing Tangled and the original animated classic, Snow White:

Tomorrow we see how it all comes together!

Advent 2022–Day Twenty-Six

Today Chickadee worked on building a part of the Lego Disney Castle that will go behind the balcony Bunny built yesterday:

She was also very excited that she got to build the last minifig for the set, Tinkerbell!

Advent 2022–Day Twenty-Five

Today Bunny continued building up the section of the Lego Disney Castle that Moose started yesterday, and added a pretty little balcony:

The part I think she was most excited about, though, was building a secret compartment (under the blue section behind Daisy) that contains Cinderella’s glass slipper and a storybook that begins “Once upon a time…”

Advent 2022–Day Twenty-Four

Moose asked for a short build today, so he just took care of building up the walls around the bedroom Ladybug started yesterday, and also added some really nice curtains above the bed:

I love that you can see them from the outside, too!

Advent 2022–Day Twenty-Three

Today Ladybug continued the build for the second part of the Lego Disney Castle:

Which included this very regal bed!

I can’t believe there are only five days of building left!