Posts Tagged ‘Hogwarts’

Why whipped cream, you ask? Well, it’s because this is just a short, fluffy little entry…nothing too important…but kinda sweet and nice, like whipped cream on top of cake.

A few fun things about my day today:

* My husband is working from home, at least for now. It’s quite an adjustment but it’s lovely to see his handsome face all day!

* The kids did their first “Quills and Magical Writing” lesson. We made two kinds of quills…the “real” kind, carved nibs and home-made berry ink and everything, and another kind that we slipped ink tubes from pens into and then decorated. SOOOOO fun!! Pics available here.

* I haven’t read aloud from novels much to the kids, because the younger two have not been very interested up until now. However, we started reading The BFG by Roald Dahl last night, and they love it! They kept saying “just one more chapter” last night and tonight we read for almost an hour, till my voice was giving out. Bran drew the Bloodbottler spitting out nasty bits of snozzcumbers all over. I can’t believe he/they are so into it and I’m thrilled about it. Tomorrow: my favorite chapter…the hilarious whizzpoppers.

* I made plans with my lovely sis for the kids and I to go spend time with her boys at the Red Balloon toy store tomorrow while she’s doing a photo shoot, then we’ll have a fun afternoon together. Can’t wait to see my cute nephews!


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All week I’ve wanted to write a post here, but got busy and forgot or else didn’t have pictures ready.  So today I’m just going to play a little “catch up” game and write about several different events.

On Thursday, June 11, some of my sisters and I went to This is the Place heritage pioneer park.  I’d found out at the last minute that it was free that day, courtesy of John Huntsman Sr., and even though the girls had their ballet recital that night, we really wanted to go.

We prayed for good weather (rain/storms were forecast!) and off we went.  We had so much fun!  I’m sure we didn’t even see half the houses/pioneer things, but what we saw was great.  The kids and I have never been before, though my sisters Kaatia and Kimia had.  We rode the train around the village, went inside some tiny pioneer cabins (one tiny thing the size of my living room supposedly housed nine people! And I have a small living room), visited the baby animal petting area, had pony rides, enjoyed free ice cream cones, bought toys and fresh popcorn at the general store, marveled at a blacksmith at work making an intricate iron leaf in front of our eyes, and camped out in a tipi when it started to pour. 

b bath            b bran on path           b Bran skull      

Old wooden bathtub           Bran and cousins              Bran and cow skull

b coffin                b cousin                       b goat

Zombie Ciara             Nia and cousin enjoying popcorn            Ciara and baby goat

b lamb       b mill        b nia tipi

   Nia and lamb            In front of a mill             Nia in a tipi

b shawl                         b train       b wagon

Beautiful crocheted shawl             Kid train                 Nia “driving” a wagon

The rain never stopped, so we had to run/walk all the way down the long hill (the train was completely full) to try to find some shelter in a very leaky twig-roofed pavilion.  We ate lunch in the driest corner, only getting dripped on a few times a minute, then drove across the street to the zoo.  (Apparently they let you in for a half-hour guest pass for free if you want to visit the store.) 

After stopping at the zoo gift shop to get some top-secret things (new Hogwarts pets for the kids), we drove home—starved, soaked, muddy, and looking like drowned rats.  

Nia had fallen so much in love with a tiny barn owl she saw at the gift shop that she cried almost all the way home at having to leave him.  I told her, “Nia, you asked Hagrid to send you a cat for your new pet.”  She sobbed, “But Mama, I love that tiny owl!”  I told her that if she wrote Hagrid a letter as soon as she got home, maybe it wouldn’t be too late and he would get her letter in time to send her an owl instead.

The second we got home she ran into the house, grabbed paper and pencil, and wrote a new letter to Hagrid, complete with a quickly-drawn owl picture:

dear Hagred

I chaed my mind i wond a owel

Love Nia

Even though we were limited for time, I boxed up the three owls I bought at the zoo (Bran decided he wanted an owl at the shop also), attached letters from Hagrid, and left the packages on the doorstep.  I also got my own little stuffed owl wet and sat him on top of the pile (since, you know, it had been quite a storm that afternoon as he battled his way to our house with the packages).

brown paper packages

Brown paper packages tied up with string

When John came home from work, I asked him to ring the doorbell.  The kids ran to the door, shrieking and screaming.  When they saw the packages they screamed even more and ripped them open.  All three kids were in rapture, hugging their owls, but Nia’s joy was hilarious to behold.  She fell on the floor, she was so thrilled to be reunited with her tiny little friend:

nia owl 2

Bran was very happy with his great horned owl, and Ciara loved her absolutely perfect snowy owl.

Bran owl          ciara owl         nia owl

          “Bark”                              “Frosting”                           “Scribbles”

After a quick dinner it was time to put the girls’ hair in buns and leave for the ballet recital!

b ciara in costume

    Ciara in her “military” costume

b nia costume

           Nia as a forest fairy

We had a bit of a mishap with Ciara forgetting her red belt, but she bravely carried on and did a wonderful job dancing with her class to “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”  Nia was adorable, of course, and remembered her steps perfectly to “Entrance of the fairy king” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I had to sit in the balcony with the tumbling class and guide them to the stage in time for their number, but in between I was hanging over the railing, watching every step of my girls with more-than-misty eyes. 

On Saturday morning Owl Post delivered the kids’ first Care of Magical Creatures lessons—the first of 4 lessons about owls.  It was grand to see their excitement as they pored over non-fiction books about owls, looking for the answers to their homework.  This Hogwarts school thing is working out very well!

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Whew, this week has been quite the whirlwind!  I thought I’d put up a little summary of the daily craziness for those who are wondering why I haven’t written for a few days. 🙂


Actually a nice day, not too busy.  I spent quite a bit of time reading up on Hogwarts classes and ideas and did a bunch of research.  We visited the library and had a lovely time getting books.  I found several books on dragons and fairies for the Care of Magical Creatures classes.  Also: Nia got her first “big” books!  By “big” I mean pages and pages of words without many pictures.  She checked out several fairy books and I wondered if she would even read one, let alone all her stack.  She never has before…she’s just devoured picture books and Barbie comic books/graphic novel things.

Nia’s new obsession.

She proved me wrong, much to my delight.  She’s whipping through all those books and I’m so proud of her!  I can’t believe how well she reads at only 6 years old.

Ciara and I also ran to Michaels/Petsmart/WalMart before 9pm to get some supplies for Hogwarts.


More Hogwarts research + loads and loads of laundry.  I had also decided, on Monday, to do “House Points” as part of the Hogwarts school thing.  Ciara thought of using empty water bottles for the containers and we also got some bags of small, colored “fish rocks” gravel for the “gems” in the house points containers.  Tuesday morning the kids sorted a multi-colored bag into individual colors…green for Bran, pink for Nia, blue for Ciara (and dark purple for me, just for fun). 

We bought the multicolored pack.

In the afternoon I washed the bottles, tied ribbons on them, packed bottles/house points chart/bags of rocks in a box, addressed it and tied it with string, and left it on the doorstep.  I also got my little stuffed owl wet and set him on top.  I rang the doorbell and asked the kids to answer the door.

They screamed and shrieked!  They were very excited.  I asked them, “Why do you think the owl’s wet?  And why was he so late?  Didn’t your letter this morning say the package should be here?”  Nia answered, “Maybe he got rained on!”  (It has been stormy all day.)  All three of them immediately ran to start doing things to earn points.  They made their beds.  Bran and Nia knelt down and said their “morning prayers.”  (John said, “Um, guys, it’s 6pm.  That doesn’t count as a morning prayer!”)

I took pictures of the House Points containers and the owl but they’re still on my phone.  I’ll put them up later.  It is great fun to be able to say “5 points to Gryffindor!” and “20 points for Hufflepuff!” and such.  And wow, the kids absolutely love it.  Oh, and they can also get points taken away for bad behavior…which is very nice. :D   

At 6:30 I left to attend Enrichment night, which was hilarious and fun…a service auction.  We got points for doing things like reading scriptures, exercising, saying “I love you” to someone that day, making our beds, taking time for ourselves, etc.  I had 700 points to bid on things.  I bought two separate things of 3 hours of babysitting each (SWEET!!!  Dates with John!!) and a german chocolate pie for the kids.  As for my services, I auctioned off a pair of crocheted double-thick pretty hotpads as well as four services: 4 piano lessons (30 min. each), an hour of weeding, an hour of teaching someone to lead music, and 2 hours of teaching someone to knit or crochet. 

Marie Callenders: German Chocolate Pie.


Dress rehearsal day!  We ran around getting ready not only for being gone at dress rehearsal all day, but also Cub Scouts.  I knew the kids wouldn’t eat sandwiches if I packed any, so Ciara and I went to WalMart at 6:30a.m. to get snacks (granola bars, crackers, etc.  I was quite pleased to see that WalMart actually had wheat-free ginger snap cookies for Bran!).  We got to the rehearsal shortly after 11.  Ciara practiced her dance at 12:10 and did such a wonderful job.  Nia didn’t go on till 1:45, and in the meantime I had signed up for several hours of volunteer work so I sat at the picture/finance table and also helped put together 140 gift bags for the dancers.  My sister Kaatia came with her kids to watch the rehearsals since she can’t make it to the recital.  Thanks so much, Kaatia!  It meant a lot to the girls.

Bran and I raced to Scouts at 3:20.  It started at 4 and only 4 boys came (half our den).  It was pouring rain but they had fun making Father’s Day crafts.  Then we drove back through the “flood” to rehearsal and were there another hour before the girls were done.  They were so tired when they finished and we were all so starved that John took us out to dinner at a new restaurant.  We assumed it was just a buffet place, since that’s what it was called, but it was actually Chinese and not too bad.  It even had octopus and oysters (ewwww!!).  I probably wouldn’t eat there again but it was fun.


We’re heading off soon to This is the Place since it’s a free admission day and normally so expensive that we’ve never gone.  All of my sisters are meeting us there for a fun morning of exploring pioneer times and seeing lots of animals.  We’re praying the forecasted rain will hold off till noon at least.  Tonight is the dance recital.  The girls are excited! 

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I always do school with the kids year-round, but this summer we’re going to add something that will make school REALLY fun and get the kids very excited about learning.  A friend at our homeschool co-op got the ball rolling, and some others have joined in, making this a truly fun and awesome adventure (thanks Monica, Rebecca, and Tricia!).

What we’re doing: a term at Hogwarts correspondence school, with letters, lessons, and supplies arriving through Owl Post! 

How it works: I prepared acceptance letters for each child, and addressed them in true Potter style, such as:

Miss Ciara Hellewell

Large Pink Room, upstairs


The letters mysteriously arrive in the night and the kids find them the next morning.  Thursday night I left mine on a chair in the hall, complete with a little stuffed owl sitting on top:


Owl Post

They were excited (and a little confused) when they got their letters.  I had told them nothing beforehand except that “school this summer is going to be different and exciting.”  (Bran said: “School’s boring! How can it be exciting?”  I guess we’ve been spending a little too much time on worksheets and books.  My goal is to change his mind. :))  Once I explained a little about attending Hogwarts by mail, since we live in America, they started to get really excited.

“Do you mean owls will bring us stuff lots of days?”

“Will we even get WANDS?”

“What classes are we going to have?!”


The first letters: Acceptance to Hogwarts and Sorting Hat quiz

They do realize, underneath it all, that of course I’m the one doing it, but we are all having a lot of fun pretending.  After they filled out the Sorting Hat quiz on Friday and left the quiz for the owls to pick up that night, they were lying in their beds, wondering which House they would end up in.  Some “mysterious” hooting noises floated up the stairs, and I heard Nia say “Guys! I just heard OWL NOISES!!”

Saturday morning they woke up and rushed to the hall to see if the owls had left them fresh letters.  Sure enough, their House results had arrived!  The Sorting Hat sorted them: Ciara into Ravenclaw, Bran into Hufflepuff house, and Nia into Gryffindor.  The letters went into detail about why exactly they were chosen and what good traits they had that made them perfect for each house.  Bran and Ciara were a little depressed that they weren’t in Griffindor, but I’m hoping to capitalize on all their individual talents and abilities to really help them see how unique each child is.

Tonight’s Owl Post will feature a letter from Hagrid on selecting a proper magical pet to be their friend at Hogwarts, with instructions to write him a letter back letting him know which pet they prefer.  Future classes will include learning all about the care, history, and characteristics of these pets and how they have been viewed in legends and stories.

I’m still figuring this out, with the help of the wonderful moms who are already doing it.  They’ve posted awesome and clever lessons on Trolls (taught by Gilderoy Lockhart), Potions (taught by Theodore Nott), and others, such as several hilarious and un-grammatical Care of Magical Creatures lessons by Hagrid; also Nature lessons by Luna Lovegood and Hogwarts History with guest professor Hermione.  I’ve got lots of ideas boiling in my mind right now about more classes to add. 

Other lessons or ideas the moms have created so far:

* House elf Home Ec (cooking and sewing) taught by Dobby

* Quills and Magical Writing (penmanship, calligraphy, etc.)

* Divination

* Herbology

* Literature

* Astronomy

Please leave me comments or ideas of what other classes we could do and any other helpful ideas you have.  It’s a lot of fun so far!

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