Sunday, April 1, 2018

Hobbies that Begin with "B" - Blogging from A to Z Challenge

During the 2018 Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I will be focusing on hobbies that I have introduced to my daughters to through their childhood and teen years. Some were done as part of homeschooling, while others were areas that we explored because we were interested in the subject or activity. These are hobbies that anyone of any age could try as well.


Throughout the years, we have explored many hobbies that begin with the letter "B":  baking, baseball (watching a game), beadwork, beekeeping, bird watching, board games, bookmaking, bowling, and butterfly raising/releasing.


It has been fun watching the girls' skill level in baking increase throughout the years. At 7 years old, Sophia was decorating carrot-cake cupcakes for Easter with jellybeans. She formed them to create images of carrots.

March 23, 2008

By Easter 2017, when Sophia was 16 years old, she was baking her own two-layer cakes, working with fondant, gels, and rock candy to create a geode cake.

We did baking as part of homeschooling. Olivia worked on a cookbook for several years that corresponded with the Five in a Row books. She learned to bake a variety of dishes.


Bread made on June 1, 2008 and Hamburger and
Green Bean Casserole made on February 10, 2013

On Friday, January 20th, there was a segment on "Twin Cities Live" in which Marjorie Johnson talked with Olivia at Mall of America. This was recorded on Olivia's 9th birthday when we were at the mall and they were pre-recording a segment with Marjorie Johnson.

January 20, 2012

Marjorie, who is known locally as winning a considerable amount of ribbons at both her local county fair and the Minnesota State Fair, found out Olivia did some baking .She encouraged her to keep baking as she got older.

Baseball (watching a game)

We took Sophia to baseball games when she was just 1 1/2 to 2 years old. 

She enjoyed going with us as her grandparents.

When we went to Boston, we were able to see where Fenway Park is located.

September 10, 2011

The girls were able to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Target Field - where the Minnesota Twins play baseball for home games.

July 26, 2016

In August 2017, we were given tickets to a special seating area at the Target field. We also had access to a club section with indoor restaurants. 

August 17, 2017

It was a fun and memorable way to watch a baseball game. 


Beadwork and making jewelry started early. When the girls were young, they began with felted beads and would create necklaces and bracelets. 

August 1, 2007

Sometimes we explored how nature and art connected - like with beads and autumn leaves.

October 9, 2007

There were practical ways of using beads and sequins - such as making bookmarks and Christmas tree ornaments.

Bookmark made on January 19, 2009.
Christmas tree ornament made on December 14, 2010.

We explored ways to incorporate beading into quilting. Projects like these became entries in the 4-H county fair.

July 14, 2010

There was beading done on looms with patterns that we followed.

July 10, 2011

Sophia did quite a bit of jewelry making in December 2013 - creating necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.


It was something she enjoyed doing; and liked learning new patterns and creating different color combinations for the jewelry she made.


She sold some of it, gave some away as gifts, and kept others for herself.


My dad was a beekeeper - both during his childhood as well as during his adulthood. Eventually, he got out of beekeeping and passed along the equipment to me.

Initially, I used the equipment as teaching tools. On March 23, 2009, I held a home economics class at the local homeschool co-op where we played a game about how a beehive worked and what it was like to bee a beekeeper.

The girls enjoyed playing games and trying the on beekeeping outfit.

Sophia was happy to be the Queen Bee...I think because she got to wear the crown.

She also enjoyed trying on the beesuit that belonged to my dad...her grandpa.

By the time Sophia was 14 years old, she had her own beehives and was managing them. She was able to hand-extract the honey which was especially rewarding.

August 22, 2015

Sophia increased her hives from one to three after a year of being mentored.  It was interesting to watch the dynamics of each hive and the temperament of each type bee.

July 3, 2016

An important part of beekeeping for Sophia was sharing her knowledge about bees with others. In addition to doing a presentation at her homeschool co-op, she also taught seniors at the nursing home about bees.

June 26, 2015

She enjoyed showing them the equipment and clothing she wore when beekeeping; and giving them samples of honey after her presentation.

June 26, 2015

Although we don't have bees in 2018, we continue to plant flowers, bushes, and trees that honeybees and pollinators rely on. In this way, not only are we helping honeybees in our area, but we are helping the wild bees and other pollinators. 

Bird watching

One of the hobbies we have done is bird watching. In addition to watching the birds and photographing them, we also have written and drawn about the birds in our nature journals.

November 4, 2007

We fill the bird feeders around the backyard and front yard.

December 28, 2007

We had the privilege of watching raptors - especially eagles - up close.

July 19, 2010

We would check on the birds in the backyard and make she they were doing well.

July 25, 2010

One of the things that we were introduced to is indoor bird watching. There was an aviary in a bookstore in Stillwater, Minnesota. The aviary is not there any longer. 

However, when my dad was in a nursing home during the final few months of his life, one of the things they had there was an aviary with finches. Olivia and my dad watched the birds one afternoon. They were colorful and unusual - not ones we typically see in the wild.

 October 20, 2011

Recently, we have been seeing eagles migrating back to Minnesota. On March 31, 2018, we saw four eagles circling in the near-distance; and then we saw three eagles flying together on Easter (April 1, 2018). Never before have we seen groups of eagles flying together. It's been an unusual and exciting experience seeing these majestic birds.

Board games

When the girls were younger, sometimes we would do "Game Days." They could pick whatever games they wanted to play, and we would play them together. On December 11, 2010, we played one of Olivia's favorite games: Connect 4.

We also played Life which was Sophia's choice.

For some of the holidays, we would play Bingo. Sophia is playing Valentine's Day Bingo below.

January 29, 2011

When we have had friends and family over, games often would be part of our time spent together. Yahtzee, Horseopoly, and trivia games were favorite ones to play with others.

September 13, 2012

We even brought some of our games to the nursing home to play games with the seniors.

It was fun teaching them new games; and being able to share something we loved to do with others.

February 7, 2014

Playing board and card games helped the day pass by a bit more quickly too.


Bookmaking was a fun hobby to explore - especially when we could incorporate it into some of our homeschooling lessons. One of the favorite books that the girls made was an autumn theme one. The book was covered in a piece of fabric that went over two pieces of cardboard (for the front- and back covers).

They added stickers, stories, and tactile elements to their books.

October 19, 2007

We learned how to make different types of books - like a three-quarters book. Olivia used this type of book to make a book about fairies.

November 29, 2007

Some of the books we made used everyday items - like brown bags. The girls also used household equipment - like an iron - to make it. So, they were learning new skills in operating household appliances while doing creative work.

January 3, 2008

Some books were easy to make - like ones that simply required some glue and paper folding.

July 26 ,2013

Nonetheless, the many different types of books that we have made throughout the years have provided a way to record memories that could have been lost had we not explored this hobby.


During the yearly years of bowling, when Olivia and Sophia were 6 and 8 years old respectively, the bowling ball would roll down the alley at a slow and steady pace. Bumpers were always up which guaranteed that at least one pin would fall down.

May 31, 2009

For many of Paige's birthdays we would go bowling. Often, we would go to Osceola Lanes. However, one year we went to a bowling alley in Oak Park Heights/Stillwater which was fun.

March 8, 2012

In 2014, we were introduced to bigger-than-life-bowling. The pins were half the size of Olivia.

March 7, 2014

The ball was the size of Sophia's (or any adult's) torso.

March 7, 2014

The girls enjoyed helping the seniors at the nursing home bowl and encouraged them with clapping and cheering as they bowled.

March 7, 2014

We recently went bowling. The bumpers are still up, though we all agreed that the next time we went bowling, we wouldn't use them.

March 8, 2018

Rarely does the ball his the bumper. The girls' bowling skills have improved a lot over the years.

March 8, 2018

It's fun to see how skills can improve when a hobby is pursued and practiced for many years.

Butterfly Raising/Releasing

We have been spreading milkweed, raising monarch caterpillars, and releasing butterflies since the girls were about 4 and 6 years old.

Each Fall, we would go out the back part of the property and spread milkweed seeds. We would watch where the wind would take the seeds.

September 29, 2009

At the time, there were only a few milkweed plants at our farm. Now, there plants in all the pastures, backyard, and front yard. Needless to say, the monarch butterflies enjoy spending time at our farm.

After raising the caterpillars indoors in a monarch-raising cage, the butterflies would hatch. We would wait until the wings dried out before releasing the butterflies. 

It was always a special time taking the butterfly out of its cage, having it rest on our hands, and then watch it fly off when it was ready.

August 31, 2007

Sometimes the butterflies came back to us and would land on us. It was always exciting when this happened. It was like a final "thank you" and one last "goodbye."

August 22, 2008

One of my favorite pictures is of a butterfly flying right in front of the girls. The awe they are feeling at what they are witnessing still makes me smile.

August 23, 2008

The collage below shows images from that butterfly release.

On July 4, 2011, the girls and I found four black swallowtail caterpillars on my parents' carrots in their garden. The girls were excited to see different caterpillars than the monarchs that they've raised. These are much bigger than monarchs.

It has been interesting to watch the life cycle of the monarch caterpillar. One year we had quite a few caterpillars that we found and there were monarchs in different life stages in the cage at the same time.

June 28, 2012

No matter the age of the girls, they continue to be fascinated with butterflies. 

September 12, 2013

This may be a life-long hobby that they continue to enjoy into adulthood.

August 1, 2015


Anne Young said...

Your daughters obviously enjoy their hobbies - their baking looks marvellous and the bees and butterflies and board games look like great fun

thanks you for stopping by on the A to Z challenge


Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Wow - Ann, those two young ladies found a wonderful mother in you! I just read all the A's and B's of great things to do - and can only imagine what is still to come!!!
Thank you so much for finding me and thus allowing me to find you. (I kinda gave up on that list business and will work through comment contact - it could get awfully exhausting otherwise!) YAM xx

London Clarke said...

First of all, I'm just amazed at all of the wonderful activities you participate in with your family. Second, I can't believe how many b-oriented activities you came up with. I am fascinated by the beekeeping and the butterflies. I'm a lover of all animalia, so of course, those caught my eye. But also the beadwork and the baking! Great stuff! Thanks for stopping by my blog, and I'm so glad I stopped by yours!

Sue McPeak said...

Yours is perhaps one of the best examples of homeschooling I've seen. What a wonderful array of 'B' things you have shared with your girls. They are fortunate to have you as mother and teacher. Loved their baking, beadwork and beekeeping...really all of it. Well done!
Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

A Joyful Chaos said...

What a great idea for your A-Z theme! I really look forward to coming back to see what new hobbies you share each day.

And what an inspiration you are doing all those activities with your daughters. We also homeschool, and I love adding things to our days, but I haven't come close to everything you've done.


Tamara said...

So much fun stuff to do, B is a great letter! I like baking, and the first necklace picture is super pretty.
It's great how much activities you get to integrate when you homeschool.

Laura Roberts @ Buttontapper Press said...

Your kids have a LOT of hobbies, I'm impressed! And we're only on B! Now I'm starting to wonder what you are going to whip out for X... do you happen to own a xylophone? ;D

Antoinette said...

Busy B-s

Morgan Cartwright said...

Pretty awesome B hobbies! Baking, Beekeeping, Board Games! All awesome things!
Once Upon a Time

Nilanjana Bose said...

Wow! an impressive range for B! Kudos to you and family.