PIONEER SUMMER

For our schooling this summer, we (Mae and I) have decided to enjoy the life of pioneers and things that surround that era. We will incorporate pioneers into science, history, read alouds, practical skills/art, field trips (as much as we can), and food.

We are using the free co-op grid from The Peaceful Press as a guide, but we will also use the minds of our girls and see where they want to take this.

Of course, Mae wants to take it to infinity and beyond. Rae is happily one hundred percent involved, but like me, she is a follower, not a leader, so she may not take the reigns much.

As one of the many practical skills, we are learning embroidery more in depth. Daddy is our teacher for this particular one, ’cause he is incredible at it! You can see we were totally off on our technique, as we piddled waiting for Daddy.

Mae and I (while Zack and Rae were at the other house for a few days), took a breakfast to a local park/preserve/historical site. My fellow history buff was in heaven.

We walked a bit of the trail, snooped in the homes (closed for quarantine), read e v e r y plaque, sat on the dock for a bit, and sat on a bench to read our daily bit of On the Banks of Plum Creek, before heading home.

After lunch, we planted a flower garden, laced up a loom for another day, and played a game.

Here is her narration of the chapter we read at the park.

We will also be enjoying late night candle drawing sessions, accompanied by our fall play list or soundtracks -such as Little Women, Pride and Prejudice (the 2005 version), or Downton Abbey. This is a child-led activity.

As part of science, they will diagram various animals, starting with a horse. This is Rae’s horse.

Mae sewed a journal to use with her quill pens. (But, Mum lost the ink…and keeps forgetting to buy more.)

We have begun remodeling Grandma DeeDee’s doll house. It is getting a fresh exterior, new floors and fresh wallpaper and paint inside..maybe some crown molding for good measure?

Pioneer cooking – recipe one was hot cross buns at Mae’s request. We used this recipe for cinnamon raisin buns with an orange glaze!

To go along with the buns, we had a breakfast cooked over a fire and an early morning read aloud while we waited for the fire to get just right! (We timed both activities so that the buns were made the day before a sunny morning.)

I bought the girls some slates (per their request) for them to use for cursive practice. (Mae is using Primary Language Lessons -Volume one)

The girls decided they would like to begin at the beginning, with Native Americans – so to begin, we started light, with some crafts and worksheets…

We made Sculpey clay oven-bake beads (Grandma included! Hers are red white and blue) and then made necklaces with them. Mae stuck with the Native American theme and only used primary colors (they are also her favorite colors), while Rae used her favorite colors -pink and purple, and I went with a nautical blue, white, and gray.

Afterward, we (mostly I, on account of the hot glue used to stick on the thick leather) put together a couple rain sticks. They also wrapped leather string and more homemade bead around the tube.

Corn is in season! I bought some to go along with our Sunday lunch, and we saved the husks to make corn husk dolls once they dry out (she soaked them again for five minutes before forming the dolls.) and…

Mae made two on her own (with the help of a Youtube video). Meet Mary and John. Like her mom and dad, they enjoy kissing each other. It’s the best.

I am so looking forward to school in June! I hope your next month is very full and relaxing!

LATELY: MAY 2020

How is June already here??

This month held two weeks of sickness for Mae and I, but also a lot of family time and time spent outdoors. So. Lets get to it…

My mom took us to a bluff/cliff in her town. Shari (my mother-in-law) said they used to ride their horses along the trails…which border the edge. Yikes. The views are incredible, though!

The month started off warm, so the girls broke in a fresh box of chalk and their swimsuits, despite being far from water. We are so excited for the rest of spring and its warmth!!

George has begun going out once a day or so. As a result, we have held a couple bird funerals and had to ease a live bunny out of the house.

Mae and I enjoyed a few walks around the yard exploring our flowers and clipping some to put in the kitchen. The honeysuckle and roses have been oh so nice!

For one of our Sunday lunches, the girls set up a restaurant with Daddy as the cook and Mom as the helper. The girls waited on the grandparents and even earned tips!

Mae took it upon herself to take care of me when I got sick (not ‘the virus’), and as a result, she became sick – despite trying to keep her distance. On the left she is so happy Mom is feeling better, the right is her too weak to sit up to the toilet.

A weed that turned out to be a mutant carrot.

Mae being sick meant I had an abundance of one on one time with Rae. We spent a lot of time drawing, painting and creating, cooking, and cleaning together. We even took a bike ride around the neighborhood and pulled weeds in the soon-to-be melon patch.

Animal Crossing, Lego play, repeat.

Also, Mandalorian is still a great love of Rae’s! Daddy bought her a Lego set with FIVE Mandalorians and a ship (“speeder”?) in it!

She beat Daddy and I at a game of Junk!

We also played a few games here and there, but I am hoping to really increase the number of family game nights we have next month!

DeeDee turned 86! We celebrated with fried chicken, cherry pie, and cards from Rae (Mae was sick at this point).

The girls are still not going out into the world around people (aside from certain cousins we see from time to time, but only them: see next slide), but one day we all rode to the hardware store and waited in the parking lot for Daddy to return. Very exciting.

Those cousins I spoke of went camping with their parents and we were invited to visit with them for a day. It was so nice for them to be around other kids. They made s’mores, swam in a pool, went for a walk, and played around with water guns.

Just when I thought it would be an eternity until they could swim again, a friend, Jim, invited us over to his pond to swim…the very next day!

I think it may be Mae’s new favorite place. They both used a kid-sized kayak for the first time! They were both so brave swimming around independently.

That’s it! I will have a school related post up and write about our pioneer summer soon!

Happy June!

APRIL AT HOME

Precious precious toilet paper gifted to us from our beloved Aunt Karen.

I am grateful, while our lives are in fact very different right now, my girls have not seemed to notice. A month before the prescribed ‘stay home’ we moved into a new home with their grandma and two great-grandparents. Zack was set to join us full-time in May and, well, what timing! The seven of us are all here under one roof.

Aside from a new setting and new ‘roommates,’ our lives are just as calm and full of love, patience, and no worries as before the virus (at least where the four of us are concerned). My girls have not asked to go anywhere in this month, they have no signs of cabin fever (or the virus), and we are all so grateful we can be together.

Maybe is calmer here…ish. She is happy to have so many folks showing her love and an abundance of nap spots, and her fellow cat (ha), George, close by.

Per usual, the April weather has been a hot mess. Wind (Oi the wind!), rain, hail, extreme heat (followed by frost), large beautiful moons, clear skies, and (mostly) cloud cover for days on end.

Poor George is missing all of it. He seems to be adjusting to life indoors, but I know he would love to chase a bird and feel the grass under his paws.

For the time being, Zack and I have built him a ‘sunroom/catio’ for him to use when he needs fresh air. He sort of likes it. We will eventually add a scratching post and a second-story place to rest.

We have been enjoying the occasional family walk/bike ride. We have the place to ourselves during ‘working hours’ even though all other kids are home now.

Dandelions are all the rage right now. Grandma mentioned getting rid of the dandelions next year. I’m not sure the girls would be alright with that.

We saw and purchased the house during the winter and are just now getting to see the wonderful plants in their best state.

The girls are halfway through their year (7 1/2 & 91/2), which means they are growing quickly, seemingly overnight. I’m okay with it. Every age so far has been a great age, and thankfully, that still holds true.

The night before Easter Sunday, Mae made supper solo.

She is used to a ceramic griddle and was upset when they were burned or hard to flip. She also used a box batter for the first time. Not quite the same results as scratch, but she did great!

When we closed on the new house, we often wondered if Shari (never mind the rest of us) would be settled in by Easter. Well, Easter came and everyone had been settled for a full month already. It was so nice knowing the grandparents wouldn’t have to be home alone during that time and that the girls would actually get a big Easter! (I don’t do eggs and bunnies for Easter and Mae lives for a big celebration.)

We used the fancy plates, candles, fresh flowers cut from a tree outside, and had music playing.

We filled the eggs – leftover from Grandma’s previous egg hunts – with jelly beans and quarters.

After lunch, the girls enjoyed a dance party to Ray Charles. It was fantastic.

Grandpa (“Papa”) turned 86. I’m, once again, glad he had a full house of folks there to celebrate!

The janitors are getting a head start on their summer deep clean, so the teachers are clearing out their rooms here and there. Which means we are accumulating 8 years of wonderful past projects!

Zack was very bummed the students couldn’t finish this Millennium Falcon, after working so hard on it all year.

As far as the house goes, well, there as been plenty of activity. There has been construction going on, several days a week this entire month. Even as I type, men are installing a new roof, which began as a project brought on by hail damage. It was perfect timing, though, as we were able to perfectly match it with the room on the new garage/apartment thing, the “barn.”

A few times, the girls and I went down the road to a park (where we weren’t around other folks) and found some new-to-us trails we would like to become our new hangouts once things get back to normal. We also decided this framed site of an old pioneer house would make a great picnic spot on warmer days!

I posted our school goings-on back here.

On a sadder note, this past Tuesday, two of my all-time favorite women passed away, my great-aunt Mary (basically one of my grandmas) and my great-aunt Nell. I’m so glad Zack and the girls got so much time with Aunt Mary during their lifetime and Zack was able to spend time with Aunt Nell (before we had kids).