This month we focused on reading, reading, and reading while “fitting in” everything else we accomplished. We spent a lot of time exploring various places out of the house. Mainly though, aside from the reading, we spent time working through some of their bigger projects, baking and trying to perfect certain recipes – like pie crust, and trying to be together (really together) either snuggled in a room or outside.

The girls and I went paddle boating with friends at the beginning of the month. When we planned this event out at the beginning of the summer, we also had the art museum and tea room added to the day. However, we have found, when you add friends, your plans shrink. But, our day was so lovely. After paddle boating, we went down the road for lunch at a place they had not been. It was so nice being able to show friends a new experience!

We have continued our nature days with friends which involve hikes, drawing, conversations, and games with other home-educated kids. We look forward to it each week – no matter the weather.

On one of our nature days, everyone was sick, except my friend, Hannah (the one who introduced me to the group). We had planned on going to the Cahokia Mounds as a field trip this autumn and decided to go ahead and set our nature day there. It fell on Mae’s birthday and could not have been a better day!

They brought her teeny tiny cupcakes and regular-sized flowers!

Amelia was well motivated for the hike up the largest mound (which was unusual), so I waited in the car with her. Mae brought my phone and took photos of the view for me and Hannah made sure to get photos of the kids together!

The following week it was just Hannah and me with our kids, so we adjusted our meeting location to be between our homes. We found a lovely spot that had been right under our noses. Another perfect day!

Mae’s beaver report. So many false possessives. She thought she was hil-a-rious.

I love that both the beaver and the duck are wearing caps.

Rae’s Hawk. She really took some liberties with its surroundings. / Mae’s Falcon, which she placed above a character from the Green Ember series when she thought he was dead, but he wasn’t and I couldn’t spoil the twist for her.

We all decided to learn what the difference between a hawk and a falcon is. Turns out it is much easier to say, they are only similar in that they are both predatory birds. That’s it. They are different in just about every other way.

We have been noticing them each flying about as we drive here and there. I really like knowing which bird I am looking at – and not just assuming it is a ‘red-tailed hawk’, which is what Zack and I call most birds.

Leaf art. Rae’s / Mae’s – The bunny, Smalls, again 🙂

Mae is working on a project covering Russia. It has been a lot of fun. Rae is also learning alongside us and has done all of the art projects and readings.

Rae took over the woodworking kit Mae got for her birthday. She made a Japanese-style birdhouse, a bookend…shelf? and other cute display items. Clearly, we need to invest in more of this sort of thing.

We also finished The Hobbit! It took us a month or more to get through. We began on Bilbo’s birthday, September 22nd, and finished just before Halloween.

To celebrate both his birthday and the start of the book, we had a little picnic party – with Dad!

The girls received cloaks and rings. They also wore Dwarf-inspired braids to the event.

Along the way, as new characters were introduced, the girls made a playing card for each character so that in the end, we have a Hobbit matching game.

We used these cards.

They also narrated and illustrated the chapters, and could form a small book of them if they wanted. For now, they are just getting tucked away in this year’s folder.

We backed tarts on tarts for this book! On the left is an apple tart (made by Rae) for the birthday party and on the right is a plum tart (made by Mae) to accompany one of the final chapters.

Mae’s elven sword design.

Around the time we got to chapter nine, I discovered a version read by Andy Serkis and decided then and there that I was done reading this one aloud. Having an audiobook instead of Mum meant we could listen for longer and bring it with us in the car, so we finished it much quicker than we thought we would when we began.

It also meant, Miss Maybe could nap on my lap while we listened…and that I could join in on the hand-work (painting, embroidering, crocheting, etc.).

When I was still reading the book aloud, we would often wait until dark, light candles, enjoy a warm bedtime snack, paint or color coloring pages, and Dad would join!

He began constructing a shire as we listened. When it is complete I’ll try and remember to include it in a post.

Next up is Little Women. We will pick back up with Lord of the Rings in the spring.

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