We started the new year (Day one. Right after breakfast.) with a cold weather hike. Refreshing, but really just made us all eager for the middle months of the year…

We attended our monthly game night with our favorite folks and this time it fell on Lolo’s birthday! She’s FIVE now!

That same weekend, I got some time to catch up with the most fabulous of ladies, our very own Aunt Kathy. She’s so cool. AND, Morty, who I always call Marty. Sorry, bud.

We went to Menards and Walmart too many times. But, our home renovations are moving along nicely!


Mae had her final appointment for her foot issues and we took the chance to spend a couple days in St. Peters with my mother-in-law. We read books aloud at Barnes and Noble, found Mae a new coat and dresses for Ben’s wedding. Birds and stones and whatnot…

We traveled to Alabama for Ben’s wedding – where they got to wear those new dresses and bond with their new cousins.

Zack went on his annual cold weather float with two of his all-time favorite people while we were up in St. Peters.

If it’s possible, I believe Miss Maybe became more of a momma’s girl and sadly, (sadly!) less of a cat lover. Not thrilled about that last bit. (Not thrilled!)

We had several snow falls and it was mega cold with days where the air felt like knives. Thankfully, the girls and I can stay indoors where it is warm, but often they would brave the cold for the sake of getting outside more days than not.

Yesterday, public school was actually closed due to cold temperatures. As usual, this man spent his day off at work, gettin’ stuff done.

I am so glad January is over if for no other reason than I can now say, we have finished one month of winter and spring is that much closer which means summer is that much closer and I’m officially getting ahead of myself.

I hope January treated you all well – if you’re interested, you should check out last January! Zack and Rae wore very different hairstyles and our house layout had yet to change! So much change is just one year.


We started out our semester buying a new chair for each of them (and more Lego storage)

We have quite a bit of time to make up for after last semester – at least where Penelope’s logged hours are concerned – so we wasted no time jumping right on in.

The girls both completed an hour a week of piano lessons. I hope to get that up to at least two hours a week soon.

Katie (our cat) left a Blue Jay for us so, naturally, we spent the better part of an afternoon studying about them. We used various books we have here at the house, as well as hearing their call and reading John Audubon’s journal here.

…and we buried it in a sunny spot, as we do to all dead animals our cats leave for us.

We all enjoy world history, so within the last year / year and a half, the girls and I have read through the Story of the World series (Vol. 1-3) as chapter books, popping in on topics as they pertain to our lessons. Now that the girls are older (mind you, they are six and eight., not ‘old’ by any means), we are starting at the beginning once again, this time we will include projects and expand our reading using other resources along the way.

Our first topic was the first nomads and the first farmers. They’ve always been one of Mae’s favorite people to learn about.

We watched Primitive Technology on many lunch breaks. We also watched Season 3, episodes 5 & 6 of Tales by Light on Netflix about the Australian aboriginal culture. The girls practiced building a tiny primitive hut (based on one built by the Primitive Technology guy) and built a model of the first farmer’s irrigation situation – minus a shaduf. They plan on building a slightly larger model of that.

(Snow and rain have stopped construction, but she will finish the hut when the weather allows.)

Mae set up a campfire scene after watching Tales by Light. They “cooked” apples, danced, and pretended to nap when the fire died out.

Sunset by the beach, by Mae

The night sky through a crack in a canyon, by Rae

Last month’s Little Passports country was France. We didn’t have time to study it much, so we extended it over into January.

We’ve begun cooking our way through In the French Kitchen with Kids cookbook – and boy is it delicious! Crepes so far are their favorite. I hope to cook every item in there before the semester is over.

The girls each did a report and portrait of Oscar-Claude Monet. They also did their own painting in his painting style. They chose landscape images from the internet they liked and spent the entire month painting it – typically for three or more hours at a time. – BUT- the girls were completely annoyed with the technique, so when they had nearly given up (having one week left to finish them) I told Mae she could paint hers in her own style.

They’re now seeing Monet everywhere – like in this sunset, spotted by Mae.

During read-aloud time (where they listen to me read to them or an audiobook) they chose to play with Mad Matter sand, playdough, Legos, weave on the lap loom or worked on their Monet paintings.

On not very blustery days we spent as much time as we could outside. On a whim one morning we went fishing at the lake (those shorts are a lie – it was pretty unbearable) and on a separate whim, we drove down the road to the river just to walk around and skip rocks.

Now that both girls are reading, we spent, I would say, the majority of our school days reading. I need to focus on spelling, but for now, they are becoming incredible readers, so I’m going to see how their writing improves through reading.

And finally, in their eagerness for spring (always trying to savor each season while impatiently dreaming of the next one), they are beginning to get things moving in the garden department. Sprouting onions, scouting out where the strawberries should go and choosing which flowers they will plant this year. I’m still trying to figure out which lessons we should study in regards to plant life when the time comes. We’ve studied worms, plant companions, and decomposition in past years.


My younger brother, Ben, got married last Saturday!! My parents took a little road trip with us down to Alabama for the weekend.

Here are some photos from our time there – minus any photos of the actual couple. Ha. Sorry, all who are instantly disappointed. I’m going to let them post their photos first.

Ben stayed with Zack, the girls, and I at Elizabeth’s house (My parent’s stayed at Ben’s house with my aunt and uncle.)

Gorgeous Fiero greeted us with an overwhelming wave of enthusiasm. It was almost too much love to digest at one time.

Ben got plenty of time with his BFF (his term, not mine). Here they are cooking supper for us on the first night.

^ Getting ready on the morning of the wedding ^

I took zero photographs with my DSLR. I didn’t want to be an annoyance, but now I’m kicking myself.

Beautiful ladies waiting to go to the church!

Rae got her momma’s chin and Miss Mae inherited my stance.

The girls have two new cousins!! Instant best friends!

Truly, I still can’t believe it. They all act as though they’ve known each other their entire (very short) lives.

The day after the wedding, my aunt and uncle stuck around with us to paint and clean Ben’s house for him, so it would be ohso nice for them when they got back from their honeymoon.

My aunt and uncle made the weekend so much fun. They’re both so funny and easy to be around. (and generous with their hoodies and cat videos!)

The girls were so patient and helpful all weekend long. Before we left on our long treck back to Saint Louis, my dad and I took the girls to the park and out to eat – just the four of us. That’s a rare combination of people and I believe we need to hang out like that more often!

We slept at my parent’s house for a few hours before sitting in the car for a further two hours back to our town. We not only drove through snow and ice starting in Birmingham, Alabama, but we came home to fresh snowfall, so Zack freshened up our windshield. Very exciting memory…