OUR HOMESCHOOL IN APRIL

While we have always stemmed fresh lessons from planned lessons, this semester I didn’t want to plan out anything. My goal was to focus on developing Mae into a proficient reader (and she is now!) and build her writing skills  (grammar, handwriting, and becoming comfortable in writing longer selections of text.)

Well, Mae mastered those things so we picked back up our method of more structured lessons every day.

After they drag themselves out of bed, they cook their own breakfast (with my help if they need it). When they’re done eating, we have Bible discussion time followed by yoga before we head into the structured learning of lesson after lesson.

We listen to music or audio books and talk about all manner of funny things while they work. I guess the big difference in the structure is I plan out everything the night before and have it ready. I use to plan half of it and we’d pick up more lessons as we went.

The girls do Zumba with a snack (if we work until lunch, then that’s fine, but sometimes G needs a bit more attention around this time.) Then, we continue lessons- typically tie up loose ends just in time for Zack to arrive home.

We began this new science-based devotional. So far, it’s tops.

It’s a one-a-day scenario but often the girls ask for ‘just one more and we end up discussing several.

We started our new geography…curriculum? through Beautiful Feet Books.

We will continue to do other forms of geography, but my girls love maps and this allows us to chart the path of the stories as well as study parts of it separately.

For the first three chapters of the first book, Paddle to the Sea, we studied Canada geese as well as ballasts and rudders. They also made clay canoes.

^ Making a dam.

The second steps in the story led to lessons on beavers and pond life.

George (our cat) caught a Chipping Sparrow.

He didn’t kill it, but its leg was injured and it was bleeding. Mae wanted to set it somewhere peaceful to die so George couldn’t do any more damage. The girls have been taught not to touch birds, but I made an exception. We hid it among some flowers where George would never think to look.

– Of course, this led to the research of Chipping Sparrows and a deeper discussion into how we could become more intentional ‘birders.’ We love (and own) this book and found the tips we discussed in there.

Below are some of the girls’ work –

^ Rae’s. The way she draws, ughhh. Can’t get enough of that girl.

Mae’s is the one just above. I drew most of this bird. She drew a great bird and wrote her facts so well but one hundred percent messed up her bird while painting it. There were tears. So many tears. So I drew her another bird and gave her a refresher course on how to use watercolor (They paint several images a week and only ever uses watercolor – she was just rushing). She painted the wings and tail and she felt so much better about this one.

G is learning too! He learns at his own home, so some of these are piggybacking off what his own parents are teaching him.

He’s learning basic words, utensil use, ABCs, numbers (1-5) – right now he’s stuck on 1, 2, 3- GO! so really I guess we’re working on the number four. Ha!

He’s also learning by coloring as well as learning some animal names, and how to properly use a shovel (the girls are teaching him this particular skill). He has mastered cleaning chicken coops, standing still on a skateboard, how to sweep and mop the floors – his favorite chore! – and how to unfold clean laundry – my least favorite of his chores! But, it allows me to put it all away for another time, which just so happens to be my favorite chore!

We’ve also taken a couple trips to explore the outdoors. Mostly the park, but our trip to the river was the most fun.

One of their verses. Rae drew her “best friend, Fletcher” on hers. So sweet.

Mae finished her big project on castles / English royalty (previously mentioned in last month’s post.) I really like her Queen Elizabeth II and “peasant” is my all-time favorite.

Mae is OFFICIALLY reading chapter books aloud to me! She’s reading second-grade chapter books. I’m sure she could figure out harder books, but I don’t want to rush it. We’re really enjoying this new addition to our school day. She reads while sitting on the counter next to me as I cook, while we drive to dance class and the grocery store, and sometimes quietly to herself under her favorite oak tree – which has been a dream of hers for years.

Rae kind of took a break this month. Not completely but, aside from painting a few things and listening to stories and such, she hasn’t had to do any work outside of the preschool she attends. The break seems to have done her some good.

We’ll continue to ‘do school’ throughout the summer, like always. I’m really looking forward to going on a few field trips and having lessons outside – if it ever warms up!

LATELY : : MARCH 2018

March, the month of my husband’s birth – and his Momma’s! That in itself is enough to celebrate, but considering we didn’t celebrate either birth, I’ll try and stretch this a bit further…

The girls and I spent the first day of March with my longtime friend and meeting that gorgeous fellow above, Julian. We managed to make it home just in time to see Zack, on his THIRTIETH! birthday, moments before he went to bed. He worked the entire day. The school always schedule fall sign-up night on his birthday and every year we heave a heavy sigh of disappointment.

We are able to watch our cousin once again, and we are having such a great time with him! I’m sure he is glad to have girls fussing over him all day.

The prince in a prime napping position.

^ Can you spot the baby bum? How ’bout Mae’s foot?

Last month Zack and I started to completely reconfigure the layout of our house. We still have a slew of small cosmetic things to do to the front area here, but we’re thrilled with the amount of space we have to move around. The wall that creates a hallway has become the kids’ favorite part of this whole deal. They just run around and around and around.

I thought maybe school would be difficult with a baby in the mix, but so far he just joins in, plays alone or with the dog, and we wait until he is asleep to tackle the bigger lessons and projects. We also continue lessons / reading in the evenings occasionally.

Buckey will not let Rae do yoga. She’s all for not doing it, no force needed, Buck.

After a late night of grocery shopping, in a town pretty far away, we enjoyed time at one of our favorite restaurants.

They still share a drink, and usually a meal. (Zack and I share a drink everywhere we go, too.) As you’ll notice in that last photo, they never seem to want a drink until their sister grabs the cup. Oi

Mae had a cold for two weeks – and then some. Day one of it, she mentions, “I want to just rest for a minute.” Thirty seconds later she was snoring to high heaven, covered in drool and sweat, well on her way to a three-hour nap.

Watching a movie, waiting for school to get out so they can go into Daddy’s classroom.

I could watch them all day long (and night) as they do the most mundane things. Ugh, They’re so great. Seriously, I could stare at her watching television for the entire 90-minute feature and not become bored. I hated when I would notice my mom staring at me. Still, to this day I dislike people looking at me – even Zack! (and he stares at me a lot) But I’m going to stare at them and even be in awe of the pre-teen eye rolls that will surely roll in my direction.

On days when the weather was nice, the hens got plenty of attention. G can’t seem to get enough of them. He now looks forward to collecting the eggs and feeding them scraps through the wire each afternoon before his nap.

(Also! Check out that green grass!!!)

A fair-skinned girl and her black-furred dog, both avoiding the sun’s rays.

The wagon has racked up some miles this month! Mae insists on being the one to lug the baby around. No complaints here.

Also, Rae up there, on a mission to collect as many bird feathers as possible. So far, they’ve all been dirty old chicken feathers. Shes so proud. She tucks them under the wiper blades on our vehicles as a treat for Zack and I to ohh and ahh over later.

^ Collecting more feathers ^

Mae is determined to become skilled at climbing trees. The only problem is, this is our only climbing tree. So many trees in our yard, and only ONE worth climbing.

We read most of our books outside this month!

We began with Leprechaun in Late Winter, which we read last year in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day. We read it in one sitting under these trees. Those Magic Tree House books are a quick read!

Followed that book with John Steinbeck’s, The Red Pony.

We read The Littles – the first in the series. It was another short chapter book, Mae was able to read this at a swift pace.

She also read Frog and Toad Are Friends this month.

(She reads non-chapter books every week, but that would make for an even longer list.)

We tackled a couple audiobooks – Little House on the Prairie (Really enjoyed this version!) over the course of a week in the car and The Hobbit in one day while cleaning the house.

Mae began a big project on Royals, Knights, and castles. Basically, castle life, but it has also come to include the middle ages. We began all of the above books this month. We’ll continue this through April as well (maybe longer?). Its been a lot of fun!

Rae went to town with some Sir Knight flannel graph business while we read those books aloud. Using it all at once seemed the best way to go.

The girls studied some composers again this month. Here are some Beethoven and George Bush Sr. Hector Berlioz paintings.

We also studied France for a hot minute. We’ll make a flag for France, too…when we get around to it. We are planning a French-themed meal (cliche items only!) for a supper one night soon.

Last year, in preparation for St. Pat’s we studied Ireland, the holiday, and everything related to the two for three months. This year, Penelope wore green. That’s it. We celebrated the following Monday with food and a movie. More of that back here.

While at a restaurant Mae crawled under the table and sat this next to me. I’m still baffled as to how she managed to sneak a card in and write this without me noticing. Her bun is  r e a l high and my hair is accurately thin. Her cards make me so happy!!

One of the girls’ best friends, Violet, turned three! We celebrated at a bowling alley – it was their first time bowling and they had so much fun!

Bathroom silliness…

The girls were in a play? skit? program? for Palm Sunday. This is all the proof I have of that.

Just a pretty girl I want to remember…

The girls and I snuck away for a couple days during spring break, since Zack had to work – on his spring break, mind you. We spent an afternoon exploring the Science Center. On our way to my mother-in-law’s, we spontaneously stopped in to watch A Wrinkle in Time! It felt so good to do something fun and unplanned with my girls.

Zack’s mom took off the following day so she could spend it with us. We stole my niece (who wasn’t on spring break) away for the tail end of our outings!

In celebration of Good Friday, Zack read them the story of the last supper and we enjoyed fish with ‘Jesus bread,’ and grape juice – per Mae’s request.

We’ll finish up the month with the rest of the crucifixion and resurrection scripture readings and garage cleaning. – Happy Easter!

LATELY : : FEBRUARY 2018

February. Does anyone look forward to it? I tried to, but much like most, I kept a steady mental countdown to March – and somehow the final day snuck up on me!

We’re ready for spring – and most importantly the anniversary of Zack’s birth!! We won’t even see him on his birthday (his 30th!), but boy! are we glad he was born!! BUT SEE! I’ve already begun talking about March without even recapping February. Sorry, February…

So much will be left out of this post, but here are some of the moments I bothered to photograph – ha!

Really sellin’ this one.

We began the month by spending an afternoon at the river on a particularly calm, very cold day. It’s usually very very windy where we live. Have to jump while the air is still. The rest of February rotated between very warm and very very cold days. I believe all four seasons were experienced.

Slow meals to go with slow school days.

It was still too dry in the house, in my opinion, for playing with clay. The girls disagreed (or don’t mind dry hands?), so they made that their handwork during our reading time. In the evening, Mae crocheted while her and I read separate chapter books that would not interest Rae.

Mountain Born is about a boy, Peter, who raises a lamb. Living the dream…

We began February reading Swiss Family Robinson, and I think it’s our favorite book to date. So much imagination sparked and such great conversation came out of it. The girls still mention it randomly. We actually completed three chapter books just in the first seven days – not a typical feat.

We began The Green Ember (the first in a book series), but the timing wasn’t right for such a long book. We kept getting distracted, so I read it alone in my free time. I’m starting the second book tonight! We may begin it again this summer, but for now, I’ll just [highly] recommend it for those around 5th grade and older.

I also read The Cutting Season – not a junior fiction novel! What?!?- The librarian recommended it and snuck it into our stack of American girl novels and various children’s books. I completed all 384 pages in one day, only stopping to cook meals! It was so good.

B became very attached to me. He was always underfoot…actually, he was typically lying directly on my feet. I like him the least, but even now as I type this, he is lying on my feet. Sweet boy. I’ll enjoy his much more when he is too old and fat to mess with my things.

Rae caught a cold – most likely brought on by my stellar parenting the day I took them to the ‘icy river.” So, while Mae was at crochet lessons, Rae ditched preschool and helped me buy a new shower faucet – and fixins.

On our way out we wandered through the plants (We can’t help ourselves!). Rae asked if she could buy Daddy a plant for his classroom. Well, after this experience, I couldn’t say no now could I?

Later, while replacing the faucet, we discovered the plumbing had been installed by a child. Not the best news.

My space-admiring daughter was so giddy watching the Falcon Heavy launch and landing! We also researched the purpose of building something like the Falcon Heavy and related topics. I’m sure we’ll dig into this more another time, but it was a good start.

^ Pastel drawings and more science by way of Khan Academy lectures while waiting for lunch to get out of the oven.

I took the camera out to capture our ladies (who are all laying now!). The one just above realized I had no food and moved on with her very busy life…

Noticed George on my way back to the house. It’s hard to photograph our pets in a way they don’t look like shadows. Looks mighty regal, doesn’t he?

Mae invented a faster way to transport ice cream from your hands to your face (no spoon required!). Zack is alllll about this. Her favorite right now is ice cream made with coconut milk and caramel.

Over the course of the month, she came up with ideas for around one billion inventions. She never stops dreaming. We watched Tomorrowland this month as well. She had a lot in common with the main character and adored the concept of dreamers. She still stops me at random when she notices a dreamer (someone who invents, studies, finds or creates beauty, etc.). I plan on ordering them their very own Tomorrowland pins soon.

^ One of those warm days I spoke of ^

Good golly, that face. We drove with the windows down a lot this month, so the wind could flirt with our bare arms.

While waiting for Rae’s class to dismiss, Mae and I had a straw fight. First one to unwrap the other’s straw with sheer force won – loser had their nose picked by the winner with the winning straw. Thought for sure she would win. She put up quite the fight.

My older brother came for a long weekend! You can read about that here.

Less importantly, that very same weekend, the girls got to see Peter Rabbit.

Some valentine highlights.

Shenanigans.

One morning while cooking breakfast for Rae and I, Mae said, “Mom, can you get two plates?” Then proceeded to whisper under her breath, “These eggs have a destiny…” I love everything about this girl!!

On a particularly cold day, the girls and I wandered around the library and an antique store. They literally gasped when they saw that photo (newspaper clipping?) of Abe Lincoln. A lady peaked over the wall to make sure everyone was okay. Ha! They stared for quite a while.

One of quite a few trips to ‘The Diamond Store.”

We’re eager to plant things! Rae has to smell everything, always has. (That word, everything, is not used lightly.) She had to smell each stick to see if it smelled like the fruit in the photo. Sadly, they all smelled like sticks.

Mae drug me over to this situation. Left Daddy and Rae wondering where we ran off to. I wonder if she’ll always have an interest in pandas.

Rae’s penguin. I like this very much. Zack liked it too, so she drew one for him to take to his classroom.

Her interest in Star Wars is holding steady.

The girls spent so much time – sometimes entire days – outside.

Mae started her own compost, planted things, including this onion above that began sprouting in the pantry. They built things, cleaned up the yard and even ate quite a few lunches with dirt covered hands.

More selfies while waiting for Rae, ’cause who doesn’t absolutely love a selfie?? amiright?

BUT! matching gray eyes, hair out of her face and dirt under her nails. AND! we’re sittin’ reeeeeal close. Just how I like it.

Happy March, everyone!

LATELY : : JANUARY 2018

This semester, we’re focusing on reading, writing, and music as our top subjects.

By music, I mostly mean learn to play the piano decently and understand the ends and outs of the notes. I’m adding composer studies to the mix periodically. We began with Johann Sebastian Bach.

We listened to his music for a bit while they did the copy work and painted, but I’m not a fan. We listened to my favorite organist/composer, Hans Zimmer instead. I knew nothing about Bach before this and found his story very interesting. Honestly, I didn’t expect to…

Rae took selfies and made a triangle using a rubber band. Very impressive.

Mae and I went shopping just the two of us at the fancy grocery store while Rae was at preschool. We brought a snack with us and ate it by the fireplace in their cafe’. She provides such good conversation.

I also went shopping with just Rae. You can read about that here.

My girls are always with me, so it is unusual to have one at a time twice in one month.

The first two weeks were foggy. All day. I loved it. Mae did not. She missed the sun and stars too much.

We started up with Khan Academy again for Math and Grammar supplementing. She breezes through every lesson, though. We also use Khan Academy for art history and we watch videos by Pixar about their movie-making processes just for fun.

We were able to borrow our boy for a bit here and there. We need this kid in our life.

Rae is still into Peppa Pig. Really liking George’s nose and that extra tall grass on the right-hand side.

The cats seem to live indoors now.

Mae is getting better at wrapping her own ponytail.

We had several days worth of snow and ice. Followed by leftover salt covering the roads. I actually kind of liked that too.

We often have tea parties, but earlier in the month we had one with cupcakes Zack’s cousin, Beef, made for us.

The girls finally saw the Captain Underpants movie. We have one of the chapter books, and they saw a cardboard cut out for the film a while back at the theater. That was more than enough to build up enthusiasm for the bald man in underpants. They’ve never laughed so hard.

Our visit to the Lincoln Museum is back here.

We visited old friends and met new babies the following day.

…and made a stop to IKEA before leaving St. Louis.

Mae saw a yellow locker box she wanted at IKEA.

She counted her money the next day, weighed the desire for the many things she wants and decided she truly wanted the locker.

^ ^ ^ Zack and Rae! ^ ^ ^

So we took her to get the locker. She was so happy. She held that heavy box all the way to the car.

We stopped by our favorite – Chipotle – before going home. So good.

Buckey grew some more. (January makes him seven months old)

I know we see each other nearly every moment of each other’s lives, but Mae and I have been spending a lot of time just the two of us. Maybe Rae is just getting even more independent?

Zack took that photo of Mae and I after noticing her and I share the same hands, feet, legs, eyes, teeth, hair color, skin color, and well, just about everything apart from our noses – which at this point aren’t that different.

We had a fluke warm day right after several well-below-freezing days. So we cleaned the outhouse. Very exciting stuff.

We got a nature lesson out of it!!

The girls also played with / in mud that was brought on by the melting snow, and our ladies laid their first eggs. We collected nine on that first day. (I say the first day, but there were nine eggs and only six hens. Clearly, we neglected them a bit on those cold days.)

^ Coconut everything for this girl ^

We began January learning about Nordic countries (a study brought about by this book), including Germany which I didn’t draw on the board, as only a red and yellow line would show up. They painted it from an image in a book instead.

One of the girls drew cannons on the board by the flags. I just kept them there because I liked them. They weren’t part of our lessons.

We also began learning about maps. Mae has always had a love of maps. Zack and I even bought her her own atlas for the car around the time she was three. Her interest is only going stronger.

We had fun learning about new animals. We learn about so many animals each month, so this isn’t unique to January 2018, but the girls’ drawing skills and handwriting are getting so dag’um good!

Zack and I saw more of each other than we had in the past 5+ months. Good gracious, that face.

The girls and I started watching Homes by the Sea on Netflix while we eat lunch. As we watch they design their own houses (I even framed one). Mae says she’ll design a house every day of her life. We’ll see…

We finally got around to reading this book. Sixteen (very short) chapters in one day – around 80 pages. The girls sat attentively the entire book and had so many questions along the way.

We then watched the section on Eskimos in Human Planet by BBC (we own it, but it may be on Netflix). It covered nearly every tradition mentioned in this book, which is set in 1964. It is about the King Islanders (based on a real tribe) and follows a young girl in her last year on the island, living as a traditional Eskimo. The follow up of the true islanders is heartbreaking.

The girls “baked” our neighbors a mud pie. Our neighbors were delighted to find that kids still make mud pies and think of their elderly neighbors with the utmost fondness.

My girls believe “boys are taller than girls” is a fact – as in short men don’t exist. Rae says Kylo Ren needs a haircut and thinks Iron Man is Spiderman’s dad. Can this age last just a bit longer, please???

Rae drew Skye from Paw Patrol. One sad Skye and one happy Skye? Not sure why she’s sad. Is she in a box?

Mae let me sleep in and made breakfast for everyone a few times – oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and pancakes are her favorite foods to make.

These glasses. They were in last month post, but they still make me laugh every time she sneaks up on me.

We took the girls to see Paddington 2. It was completely adorable.

Mae kept up with her plan to e-mail Grandma at least once a week. As a result, my phone is full of her selfies.

The girls had a dentist appointment. Very exciting stuff for them at ages five and seven. Having perfect teeth helps in this, I’m sure. The dentist even smoothed out Mae’s front tooth that had been chipped back in December.

January ended with several warm days in a row which called for walks at the park, most of which involved time with Zack!

The girls and I finally made it up to see my grandparents. They moved up here from Alabama last November.

My Uncle Paul was visiting from D.C., so I was able to meet his wife, Hiroko, and their son. He’s awesome! It felt like my kids had known him their whole life. Of course, Hiroko is sweet and funny. Such a cool lady. Could’ve spent the entire week there.

On the last day of January, we decided to tidy up the house and continue our lessons on Nomads. We started the first volume of this series (there are four volumes in total). So good! Zack and I were geeking out over them before they even arrived in the mail. The girls are hanging on every word, so far.

Since we’re using these for our history curriculum (I say as a woman who claims not to use ‘curriculum’), we’re going to follow it straight through learning about 7000 B.C. all the way 476 A.D. in order – just in volume one! I’m assuming this first volume will take at least year, since we’re studying and not just reading it all rather quickly.

I felt as though January flew by, but seeing this incredibly long post and knowing what I neglected to mention, I guess we packed quite a bit into those 31 days! One more month until our boy turns 30!

 

 

MAKING IT UP AS WE GO – WASPS!

Last week the girls and I cleaned the outhouse. We never use it, so i’m not sure why we did. Something to do on a warm day, I guess.

We collected several wasp nests for our nature collection, which we of course turned into a learning experience!

Our favorite part was viewing a slice of the nest through the microscope Mae received for Christmas! It looked way better than this photo, which was taken with my cell phone.

We are really loving this homeschooling gig.

FIELD TRIP : : LINCOLN MUSEUM

We got our first field trip of 2018 taken care of last week!

The girls spent quite a bit of time last fall learning about Abraham Lincoln. A subject they requested. We finally had some time to breathe and decided to fill that breath with a treck to Illinois.

My friend from high school, Ven, and her boys joined us. So grateful for the company and conversation!!

This girl, agh! She soaked every bit up. She was so happy to be in this place.

Zack and I brought her here when she was a year and a half old, or so. She obviously didn’t remember a thing, but it was so nice from my perspective seeing her observe everything this time around. Grasping the importance of his accomplishments.

With the exception of the logs she sat on, Rae looked at everything with her eyes not her hands! Such a hard task for a five-year-old.

^ Just look at her!! Inspecting every inch.

KILLS. ME.

Rae strolled through at a brisk pace…until she got here. She stared at Abe for a good long while, as I stared at her for a good long while.

Above: an outhouse with THREE toilets. All at different heights! You know you’ve made it when…

We toured Lincoln’s home. It’s just down the road from the museum -and its free! His tomb is free also but it was raining and getting cold, so we skipped that.

His home still has some original things in it. Doors, a toilet, wallpaper in one of the rooms, and the banister. Oh, that beautiful banister.

Now, between Lincoln’s stories of loss and achievement, the slaves’ own stories and watching my girls experiencing it all, I got tear boulders lodged in my ducts quite a few times throughout the day – BUT none quite so large as the ones brought about by that generically crafted banister.

As we neared the portion of the home tour where it was time to head on upstairs, the guide mentioned that the banister was original to the home.

“It’s as close to shaking the hand of Abe Lincoln himself as you can get!” 

I could see Mae hold her breath. Her smile grew and her gaze made it over to mine. I knew what she was thinking. Boulders began to form.

As we rounded the corner into the foyer, her eyes grew. I made sure to walk behind her. She slowly raised her hand, making sure to never take her eyes off the banister. She slowly walked up the staircase. I knew she was imagining Abraham Lincoln walking up those very steps holding onto that very banister. She was in heaven. As a result, I was too.

Before heading to my mother-in-law’s for the night. We braved the great ice storm of 2018 (apparently it’s not too early in the year to proclaim such a thing), and enjoyed a “fancy meal” at McAllister’s together. Just me and my ‘gails’.

As we waited for our fancy food to arrive, we received several texts and calls from people making sure we were still alive. We were. As we made the five-minute journey to Shari’s we saw no ice and had the roads all to ourselves. Not a bad way to end the day!

– Mae (on the left) is holding her face like that for the photo. I held the phone up for a ridiculous length of time to see how long she’d hold it. She didn’t budge. Definitely, her Daddy’s girl…

DECEMBER PAINTINGS

Typically I include our homeschool work in my monthly round-up, but December became pretty full, so this is a separate post for a few of their paintings I particularly liked. The rest of their work is filed away. They typically do a verse painting a day, and we did quite a few on people involved with Christmas.

Mae’s St. Nicholas is the title photo and Rae’s is the one just above. Mae wrote facts on the back of hers. Rae wandered off somewhere. I believe hers has a word and a half completed. Her painting is pretty sweet though. Really diggin’ the square noses all of her portraits have lately.

Mae wants to write in cursive. She is getting pretty good! Usually, an easy tell as to whos work is whos. Mary is so happy!

Rae’s Jesus is sending off a John the Baptist vibe. Love it.

Mae got fancy with her illustrations.

Check out that thatch roof, ya’ll! Not how it would’ve been, I’m sure, but she’s shading!

LATELY : : NOVEMBER 2017

We began the month of November celebrating this lady’s birth. She’s FIVE now!

You can read about that here and here.

We have spent months car shopping while desperately clinging to the hopes our lemon would get its act together and somehow last us another year. We had it for seven years and drove it one billion miles. We can’t really complain…

After looking at various vans, trucks, and SUVs, we decided on this beauty. Basically a spaceship. My mother-in-law said it needed a name, so we went with Norrin Radd.

The girls spent hours digging holes and raking leaves in the yard. The leaves just blew back from whence they came, but the holes will stick around making sure to trip us when we least expect it.

We took a trip to “The Diamond Store,” to pick up some chalkboard paint and continue our hunt for 12″ duct pipe things. I dunno. We’re going to order those online, but we did get some paint and a video that makes me chuckle.

The chalk wall completed, above. It took a day of sanding, three days of priming, and about five coats of chalkboard paint.

We followed up Lowes with a trip to Taco Bell. Normally, that wouldn’t grant a spot here (maybe it would?) but the girls were such turkeys, I want to remember it.

We spent nearly every day learning about Separatists (Pilgrims).

Their timeline, hymns they enjoyed, work they would’ve done every day, what schooling was like, life in Holland, as well as what Native American lives were like before settlers and just after settlers arrived.

We read stories of all of the above in their American history book, in a colonial times book, and listened to Stories of the Pilgrims while we did paintings, crochet practice, and a bit in the car. It was very good as an audiobook!

The girls prepared Johnny cakes as a snack one day, made construction paper hornbooks, and dried apples to hang and use this winter. We also attempted making rag dolls, but just couldn’t find the time.

We read Thanksgiving related chapter books – Nate the Great Talks Turkey and some Felicity books. while Mae crocheted and Rae drew photos or just snuggled.

The girls take art and singing lessons at the high school once a week. Zack teaches them the art (obviously?), and they made these choose-a-face pictures. I didn’t take photos of theirs (but we kept them), so here ^^ is Zack’s example.

The girls and I joined in on art club’s Thanksgiving party. We enjoyed good food, painting, video games, and a visit to Aunt Teresa (who had a table tennis match going on with her own students. Imagine that. I bet she whooped ’em all! Suckers.).

Rae also cashed in on her free birthday smoothie from the student cafe while we were there.

Mae took a fall, chipping her left front tooth in the process.

That first photo was taken moments before. Poor sweet girl.

While we did Bible studies, we only did a painting on the story of Babel. Simply because Mae really wanted to.

We only had time for one poem painting this month. It was about a windy November. Perfect for our November.

Mae also learned about a couple “lady scientists.” (We used this book)

Science is her “favorite thing everrrr!” so we focused a bit more on it, despite being busy enough with other subjects.

Buckey Boy!

Rae taped everything in sight. I got her rolls of tape for her birthday since she likes tape so much. I’m regretting it, but she is so happy and rarely stops creating with it.

Mae practiced on her new piano nearly every day she was home.

Despite my best efforts, Christmas made its way into our lives.

That lovely stomach flu showed up. Zack and I missed it, but there’s still time.

Zack and I spent a weekend in St. Louis at a Missouri Youth Fellowship event with our church. SO GOOD!

Can you find Zack and Rae??? AGH!

The girls spent that weekend down the road a bit at Grandma Shari’s house. They were able to catch the tail end of the final sermon and ride home with us on the bus.

Buckey spent that weekend with our cousin Marsha. He rode home with his bum in the back and head in my lap. It’s nice to be missed.

As Rae is getting more independent, it seems I’m getting frequent one on one time with this ham.

Zack’s Thanksgiving board made me very happy.

Rae and I took a trip to the mall – not as dreadful as I expected! We seemed to have the whole place to ourselves. She had birthday money to spend and found so many things she wanted to buy for her sister.

Sadie, Mae, and I took Buckey to the dog park. He just hung out with his momma and not the twenty other dogs. I can totally relate, B.

Afterwards, we took him to PetSmart to let him pick out a bone. He did visit with the dogs at the store. Most of them looked like cats, though. He’s used to cats.

I posted our Thanksgiving day back here.

Video games at 10 pm by the fire. Hooray for long weekends!

It has been warm. I wore a tank top, sandals, and shorts the day I typed this sentence. Stupid. Get cold or at least rainy already! Just kidding…?

My girls are loving the heat while wanting snow at the same time. Not totally out of the question here in the Ozarks, but I’m not holding my breath.

These fellas. Never far away.

We started our (probably too in-depth) lessons on Christmas. Here they’re writing and illustration Isaiah 11:1.

Still haven’t painted the trim ^ ^. We’ll get it done in the next year or two…

Mae has one more rehearsal next week – and THEN! – the recital. So glad my child has confidence in front of a crowd.

We’re ready for December, and hopefully, the cold weather that comes with it!

SCHOOL, LATELY

I started schooling Mae when she was three. Rae was a year old, and took a lot of naps, so Mae and I had quite a bit of one on one time for school and play.

Fast forward four years and we’ve made it back to that glorious time together.

This time around, however, she can read and write. What a difference that makes.

She asks questions that stop me in my tracks. She’s always been an “old soul,” but now I am seeing a new version of what that means for her. She absorbs information, ideas, and theories so brilliantly. Constantly in awe of her. – Maybe this is normal for a nearly seven year old, but I don’t remember being seven, so I’ma ganna gush on m’lady like its a new thing. Thanks for indulging.

She is very interested in science. All things science. Anatomy (of humans, animals, and bugs), Astronomy, experiments (baking soda + vinegar type biz), studying nature, and weather. If she gets interested in time travel, Daddy will be tackling that nonsense.

On Rae’s school days, we pick a spot outside – a park, a river, a cemetery or a lake. We get formal school work done, and then fill the rest of our time by exploring.

If we’re at a park, we’ll hike, follow squirrels as quickly and as far as we can, or simply collect nuts, bugs, and leaves.

If we’re at a cemetery, we’ll spend our time reading the oldest headstones and making up an interesting life story or researching origins of surnames.

If we’re at a lake or river we’ll fish, and observe spider webs and tadpoles.

Climbing a tree is an option everywhere we go. We love ourselves a good, low branch.

We also hit up the library at least once a week. We usually read a chapter book a day (3 days a week), and it’s quickly become one of our favorite ways to spend time together. Ya’ll know I can’t pass up a chance to snuggle – especially if it’s with a fellow snuggle enthusiast.

This past week, we read Kylie Jean – Cooking Queen (The Kylie Jean books are her favorite right now), Spiderwick Chronicles – Book 1, and Princess Poesy and the Crazy Lazy Vacation. We finished that last one is 15 minutes, and I take my sweet time reading books! I need to find more of those Princess Posey books! Even Rae can sit through that.