APRIL! I don’t usually appreciate spring as I should.
However, this year I am IN. TO. IT.
April was kind to us. Easily my favorite month of 2019 thus far. Here are the final highlights (For me. Maybe I should start adding more of Zack’s daily goings-on?)…
Our hens are officially laying eggs every day! Several of them tend to lay double yolkers!
We can’t let them roam as our previous hens have, ’cause our dog really wants to eat them, but they seem to be enjoying their first spring from inside the coop.
We received the sweetest handmade card from a fellow art teacher we had over for game night last month.
We’ve added morning snuggles and conversations to our routine (Soley because Mae began to crawl in bed with me after hearing Daddy’s alarm). It’s such a great way to wake up.
I wrote about our spring break here.
It is gardening seasoning! We spent the month clearing the neglected areas. George has been right there with us as we hang about the yard. We sure do love that guy.
Bailey has been sleeping so much over the past few months. I’m not sure what to think about that.
But, she also prefers to remain close to us. It makes us all so happy to know our pets adore us.
I wrote about our times on the trail back here.
When standing up straight, Mae is as tall as our broom.
She’s very happy about this.
Also, her high pants make me chuckle and her “My mom gives the most amazing hugs” shirt makes me smile.
These girls still love hats and I still completely adore them in hats!
Rae looks so O L D in that photo. Her feet have grown a size and a half since her birthday last November! Yeesh.
Many an evening was spent on the porch. We watched moths try and get at the lights, heard frogs come out and sing for us, and – my favorite – watched bats flutter overhead as the sun set.
Those lashes and Pippy freckles! So pretty!
She ate half of her yogurt. Based on the rest of the week’s similar eating habits, I think her growth spurt is over.
Lady bought herself a whittling starter kit! A longtime dream come true.
We took the girls to see Avengers End Game!
Both ladies got their hairs trimmed a few days ago. Nothing too crazy, but boy, do they look fresh.
We’re cleaning, playing board games, reading just-for-fun books, and hopefully giving their bedrooms some walls today!
We completed nearly every lesson outside this month! It felt like summer school. A welcomed change from the typical rainy April (though, we got plenty of that, too).
Rae, fine-tuning her chopping skills.
Me, holding my breath pretending I don’t doubt her abilities one ‘tweensy” bit.
Frodo, tossing a worried glance my way.
We are still trying to catch up on our Little Passports packages. We began our month studying Australia, so, we had to use up an afternoon just tossing Mae’s (authentically Australian) boomerang Rae got her for Christmas.
Along with boomerang practice, we had a picnic and studied lichen on headstones and trees, to go along with our study on symbiosis.
After finding a small book of phrases in Hebrew among our book collection. Mae has taken it upon herself to learn it and greets nearly everyone with a “Shalom!”
Their new devotional, I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God, goes over forty of God’s names while also highlighting major stories from the Bible, and discusses how it applies to our lives in this current time (simply, for younger kids. Mae often adds her own elaborated examples).
We finished Luke last month, and have begun back at Genesis. Unless I decide otherwise at some point, we will just read on through the Old Testament (skipping Psalms, as we read those last fall)
One of our many days spent at the river. On our days outside, away from home, we keep it simple. I will bring along a Bible, the devotional, a chapter book or a few short stories for Mae to read aloud for her independent reading, a chapter book for me to read aloud (This will be one of the Narnia books for the next few months), and workbooks – – generic all subject worksheet types, our history reading and workbook, or one of science hands-on books)
Some poem painting to go along with our Australia lessons. (The beans are to add a bit of aboriginal design)
Mae is in a baseball phase, so we did a study on “Babe” Ruth.
^ She grew roots just by leaving it in a cup of water for a good while.
The girls also practiced reading, cooking, math, and piano each morning.
NARNIA: THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
For chapters six and seven we added a study on beavers.
The girls made shields and practiced some archery for chapter eleven.
We still have a few more chapters to go. We will end with a tea party just as we began with one.
We are really loving these book studies!
Zack has three or four weeks left before the summer break, but we will, of course, keep going. I’m scheming of some fun things we can do and ways he can join in, while trying not to neglect May.
^ Baseball in Grandma’s front yard before church. ^
As we packed Saturday morning, Maybe sat in the car for hours making sure we didn’t leave without her. Precious girl.
Easter morning, before church, the girls and I played ‘baseball’ and drew pictures with chalk. (Rae is drawing Maybe with a bow)
Zack, the girls, and I went early to breakfast at church. Shari was teaching the children that day, so the girls got to have Grandma as a teacher!
After the service, everyone met back at Shari’s for an incredible lunch.
Zack and I took the girls (Maybe included) on a walk after lunch.
We spent the rest of the afternoon sitting under the tree taking with Shari and Aunt Chloe. Mae climbed the tree and the girls took turns hiding empty eggs for each other.
We also fit in a few rounds of Dutch Blitz before Chloe headed home.
By the time we left for the journey home, we were all exhausted! Certainly, a day well spent!
Rae’s purple and red phase:
Mae’s on-going Winnie the Pooh phase:
Mae’s Little Prince phase:
Mae has been enjoying drawing faces, lately (finally!) :
^ “The best face I have ever drawn!” ^
For most of February and March, I was really depressed. Not in a scary way, just in the way that people get when it has been winter and gross for too long. I, of course, try and make the best of the gross weather and make it fun for the girls and myself, but I need HEAT.
My beautiful husband said one day, “You should get in the car and go somewhere warm for a week or two.” (Yes, please!) I took this idea seriously. I obsessively weather dot-commed the locations of everyone I knew. Some were warmer, but for at least a month, it was raining nearly every day, everywhere, just as it was here.
Public school spring break here in the north happens early. My niece and nephew had it before spring even began and Zack’s began the first day of spring. Boo.
I took advantage of our do-whatever-we-want homeschooling lifestyle and waited until our town was gifted a full week of warmth.
We needed it.
Below is what we did with that time…
Day one, we put together a pioneer kitchen – complete with every kitchen necessity, a clothesline, homemade detergent, dish soap and pan for a sink. We stayed outside always, enjoyed beans from a can and cornbread for lunch. We ate most of our meals out here during that week!
Day two we grabbed muffins from “the Amish place” for breakfast, old-timey treats from the General Store and a picnic at the river (as well as hours of play)
We also licensed the vehicles, which was actually fun because of the ladies who work at that particular office.
Once we arrived back home, Mae set up a general store next to her kitchen, we ate supper in her kitchen, and they played and played some more.
This photo was taken on day three. ^ It is of Rae telling me a story. She had complained about bugs every minute for the entire day, so I told her to sit next to me and tell me a story that had nothing to do with bugs. She told me such a great, creative store about a giraffe who lived on a mountain.
Maybe was sitting on the other side – as close to me as she can get.
Day three, we ate more meals pioneer style, handed out lawn mower rides, spent plenty of time on the porch telling stories and time in the hammock reading stories.
We topped it off with a picnic and kite flying with Daddy.
We went out for milkshakes and cheese fries on day four. They had been asking for cheese fries for a while. They ended up just digging through for the cheese-less fries. We made a stop by the library where they picked out every book the library had on baseball – and they got to stamp every book with the return date!
We made paper mache birds! We painted them a couple of days later. That night we held a movie night – Sandlot, complete with grilled hotdogs, Cracker Jacks, and sunflower seeds *with shell*.
We packed so much into those four days (and the weekend before it, that by Friday, we just wanted to sit. We grocery shopped and cleaned the house (boo), but basically just lounged in and around the house.
I began planning the following week’s lessons and that afternoon, our friend, Nick, arrived. He spent the night and went canoeing with Zack on Saturday!
Mmmmm, April. It has been so good to us so far! Here are a few (cough, cough) photos from the first week.
The girls and I decided to go explore along the bike trail in town one afternoon before the public school let out. The low bridge was flooded on this end of the trail, so we decided to hang about in the front field. A place we usually skip right over. It turned out to be a very well spent hour!
Rae played with her dolls (I can’t believe those curls are still pristine!) and joined me in running Maybe around in aimless circles.
While Mae sewed a little bear doll by hand.
^ Photo by Rae (She’s lookin’ proudly at her momma)
The girls devised their own stake to tie Maybe in place once we were done running, and she didn’t fight it.
Zack thought that sounded like fun, so the next day we brought him – and waterproof shoes, in case the bridge was still flooded.
The girls brought sketchbooks to illustrate their findings and a bag to lug rocks in.
Boy, do we love when that man isn’t busy and can tag along!
“The tallest trees in the world.”
So far we have spent all but one day in April outside! We saved our spring break for a warm week – and that post is up next!
March happened and it was a weird’n.
I thought it was April. I feel as though I missed an entire month.
Zack turned thirty-one on March first and we celebrated with a trip to Chicago.
One of our hens has begun laying eggs! We’re not as attached to this batch of ladies, but we’re trying to fix that. They’re awfully sweet.
Also, that is a very large “first egg” – the shell was just large, but the contents were teeny tiny – as it should be.
Miss Maybe is still around and still begging for food she will never receive and eating cat food she’s not allowed to have.
Truly, though, she’s terrific.
…I just wish she’d stop watching me eat.
We spent nearly a week at Shari’s house (Zack’s mom). Zack spent that time painting her house while the rest of us had fun shopping, playing outside, and visiting Forest Park. The girls even got to visit my parents and Vovo.
We also spent Shari’s birthday with her, which involved breakfast at iHop – and later lunch with my parents! I think the girls enjoyed having all of their grandparents at one table.
While in Saint Louis, I bought Mae overalls. She has worn them every day since.
The final Netflix movie, before we canceled our account. No television / DVDs only for a while. (They are happy about this)
^ Notes left on my laptop. The best.
^ Notes left on my pillow. Also the best.
Twinners. The Pimki Pop Aunt Sarah got her for Christmas is still her most used toy. She keeps everything safe inside that thing – including Daddy’s Switch once when we had to leave it in the car…
Lady made me some eggs with a hotdog and two olives for breakfast. It was very salty but delicious.
We are finishing off the month with cleaning (the house as well as those overalls!) and more bedroom renovations. We may also go fishing with my sister’s family tomorrow!!
WE. LOVE. PROJECTS.
We love having something to stretch our creativity and give us a goal to reach. Whether that is in regards to school studies or designing and building their bedrooms, mastering the correct ratio of water to flour in a loaf of bread or simply sorting and organizing the next season’s clothes. The girls have built up a healthy habit of doing.
Each season I try and have a large project for us to mull over and accomplish.
With our geography method this year (Little Passports), we have a large scale project each month (because we want to make it one). But they have so many requests for what we should learn, that our project to general subjects ratio has become very uneven and we spend most of our time each week fussing over crafts and Biblical metaphors and immersing ourselves into the cultures of others.
Well. This semester, we are beginning (again, more slowly this time) to read through The Chronicles of Narnia series – my favorite series / stories. – and we’re lovin’ it!
Another portion of our month involved Saint Pat’s / a study of Ireland. We usually study the country and occasionally mention Patrick. (One year we studied it for three months! ‘Cause we really like Ireland.)
The girls illustrated a few Irish Proverbs. Clearly, someone stole the other’s idea on that last one. Ha. I like the bear addition…and the dog in the attic? They cute.
They trapped a Leprechaun by enticing it with honey and a dirty penny.
Mae immediately declared we needed to try to catch more so that he could have a family. Model Magic and Momma’s free time don’t grow on trees, so I let her know they prefer to be alone.
They danced to Irish folk and rock music a lot. They jigged to all genres I supplied. Many an ankle were harmed during this activity.
I tried to create one on one time with Rae. That usually involved listening to her read me stories. And. Girl. Can. Read. If we weren’t reading she always chose either worksheets or to draw next to one another – sitting as close as possible.
A few times each week, the girls both would practice following a recipe all by themselves. The only issues they had was allowing the butter to get too warm while making cookies (I should remember to refrigerate their dough before baking it) and they aren’t the strongest mixers, so I had to help them finish up their mixing (we don’t have an electric mixer of any kind).
I thoroughly enjoyed sitting back and watching them, shamelessly eavesdropping on their conversations.
For a side project, the girls made a soda bottle ecosystem. We let them get some fish and a snail for it (the reason for the larger juice bottle instead of a second soda bottle) and they planted poppies in the top bottle. The poppies already have little sprouts!
Zack is on spring break this week. The girls and I are saving our spring break for a week that is fully warm, but, while in St. Louis for a few days, we visited the zoo – ’cause the sun was out and we can’t help ourselves. I gave the girls a map and they led the way. My favorite part was watching two hippos walking above their pool and then witnessing them jumping (as much of a jump as they can accomplish) into the water.
More on our time outside this month, back here in my last post.
I am so eager for April! We have several new curriculum books to crack open and many fun lessons planned. AND! our spring break!
Spring weather waited until the official equinox date this year and when it finally began to appear we took every opportunity to enjoy the sun the season was supplying. It is still incredibly windy (typical of here) so I didn’t enjoy it as much as the girls – but – for their sake, I kept most of the whining to myself. Below are a few moments we took our school work outside and some detours we took from book work to accomplish some play….work.
We got to witness a caterpillar making its cocoon – while climbing the wall!! Definitely the highlight of our month.
The girls went shamrock hunting so they could pin some to their jackets for Saint Pat’s Day.
One of my favorite days was one in which we drove to the lake. We sat in the car and polished off some simple workbooks and read our read aloud assignments while sitting comfortably in the car’s greenhouse-like warmth. We finished off the afternoon with two hours of exploring, collecting, watching, and tossing rocks and sticks into the lake.
I am so ready for warmth, even if it only means more rain!
A post on our structured lessons will be up tomorrow.