February, the calendar’s middle child. The month that is greeted with a sigh and is usually seen as a hurdle that needs to be conquered so we can all just move onto something a bit closer to spring and warmth.
From where we sat, though, this past month was so very nice.
Boy, she would be ohso happy if we just woke up each day and lied on the floor with her until it was time for bed.
The girls celebrated the first Tooth-Doctor Day of 2019! So far, they still enjoy going to the dentist and have no cavities – that could have something to do with the joy.
I wrote a bit about February’s weather back here. Very exciting.
Rae has required several naps and Mae fell asleep on the couch one afternoon. I think they’re going through growth spurts. The tights she is wearing in that photo are at least one size too small. (We bought them one month ago!) I purchased two new jeans for her at the beginning of the month, I hope they prove useful through the spring.
(Hooray for healthy, growing kids and four dollar tights!)
(This day feels like it occurred months ago.)
We were able to borrow the boys for a day here and there. We’ve missed them so much. As soon as they left, we began missing them again.
G instantly asked for popcorn that first morning and quickly began grabbing the stool, pulling the bag of kernels out of the pantry drawer and showed me where to get the pot. Ha! Quite the second breakfast…
Little A had grown SO MUCH in a month and a half! He grew six beautiful teeth, about 78 inches taller, and now has hair! Strawberry hair!
G is talking so well and so much. He’s at that stage where it seems he has nothing left to learn (aside from, like, mathematics). He can help with everything and does. He can hold conversations and soaks up information like a sponge.
We made progress on the girls’ bedrooms!! It will still be a couple of months until their rooms are complete, but it’s exciting!
Helpful lady filling up the furnace. She wore this dress most of February.
I started a painting that involves buffalo, and as a result, Mae has been drawing them as well. This one would like a pizza, please.
Two of our favorite people, Bob and Paula, took us out to lunch after church one day! I didn’t get a photo of our time together, but I did get a photo of the girls from inside the car in front of the restaurant…
Waiting for their breakfast. Chop chop, Ma!
Zack and I took the girls to a small (free!) petting zoo – put on by the FFA students, who brought in their own animals!
^ Photo by Rae ^
We took the girls to the London Tea room again and to Lolli & Pops (schmancy) candy store.
Mae looks so big! or V looks so little. Either way, the difference surprised me.
We also visited the Hibbelers! for an afternoon/evening. Lynn made us some of the most incredible food (Seriously, so good!!) and the girls got four solid hours with their best friend, V.
Thanks, FEB. Like all middle children, you turned out to be a real joy. You brought an abundance of ice and snow as well as many of the birds out of hiding.
Also! OUR BOY TURNS 31 TOMORROW! He is enjoying his final day as a thirty-year-old at home with us, celebrating a wonderful (but hopefully the last) snow day!
I’m sure this is no surprise to anyone who knows us, but our days are typically on the quiet side, save for loud laughter and the occasional thunder of rollerskate strides. Five years of formal, daily homeschooling and I am over the moon with how our life together is unfolding. I can’t imagine a better childhood for them.
A benefit from our homeschooling I can’t capture in an image?
Their love for one another.
It is incredible (At this age. It may be more of a struggle in the teen years. Struggle that will be no less beautiful and necessary.). Their constant encouragement for one another is stunning. I am so grateful they have this time to get to know each other and form knowledge of what it means to love a peer/sibling/possible future spouse unconditionally and develop a habit of lifting one another up at such a young age.
Alright – let’s get on to more formal lessons, yeah?
^ Photo by Mae ^
We were able to have school outside on occasion and chicken chores became a thing again!
The girls and I haven’t paid much mind to these new hens. Zack has pretty well been their sole caregiver. Switching roles wasn’t planned, I just really dislike the cold this year and have enough responsibilities as it is (not that he doesn’t, they are just “his girls”). I am hoping we have a warm spring and my interest in the ladies is rekindled. For now, the few and far between not-so-cold winter mornings will have to do.
The cold days really dragged on, though, and we spent more time than usual learning via computer and educational television…sometimes while wearing aprons or scarves…
We did read an awful lot as well which was also a great way to fill our days stuck inside.
Computer lessons consisted of –
Khan Academy math, art history, and Pixar in a Box – storytelling lessons
Typing through typing.com
Supplemental piano lessons using Hoffman Academy on YouTube
Worksheets! Rae really likes those. I really need to find some fresh books. With all of the time indoors lately, we’ve worked through all! of our multi-subject workbooks.
Mae has been asking to paint a portrait of me for two months now, and we finally found a good time to make that happen.
She was really generous with my eyelashes – so luscious! – and my shoulders…and what she calls my ‘skinny nose’ and ‘wild hair.’
Both girls spent most of their time reading (anytime, anywhere, and everywhere). Mae has a stack of books she’d like to read through soon (by that, I mean, RIGHT NOW!) and has even taken over our Bible and devotion time (the only thing she wasn’t reading before…reading me right out of a job…).
Rae tends to stick with her favorites and read them over and over and over. In true Rae fashion. She finds something she likes and loves it fully until the life is sucked right out of it (See: Star Wars, portrait drawing, and the beloved tiny figurine phase.) At the moment she is into Elephant & Piggie and the Pigeon books. She can read one of them in about two minutes, but she reads them appropriately. No exclamation points printed in vain on her watch. No sir.
^ Drawing Luke 7:11-17 ^ Love her little homes.
Playing with Mad Matter while I read aloud.
^ Mae’s are on the left, Rae’s on the right ^
The final two weeks will be spent, mostly, reading through The Magician’s Nephew and working on a project for it as we go (and will continue into March). Once we finish the book, I’ll put up a post all about our time reading through it. (It’s so fun already!!!)
During that time, they will also practice the piano and their weekly spelling words, and we will hold our normal Bible lessons each morning.
We took a small field trip to Pet Smart. Ha. Very small field trip. It was a kind of fun way to start off the new month.
This chameleon stole the day and nearly came home with us. We could use another class pet, right??
We are taking a larger (our largest!) field trip next weekend, which will be written about in its own post in March.
*FIRST SCHOOL POST IS BACK HERE.
As I wrote the monthly school post, I noticed it was way too long – twice as long as my normal posts! Can you imagine?!
SO. I am going to break it up this month into two posts – for myself, and anyone else who cares to keep up with this sort of thing.
This one is solely about geography, and for geography, we began learning about Egypt through our Little Passports subscription! It has always been one of Penelope’s favorite places.
Below are some lessons we tied into our study.
A poem from Eric Carle’s Animals Animals.
“Penelope’s Room“ in hieroglyphics. She plans on hanging this in her completed new room – when that day comes.
Model Magic made an appearance. Mae created a Great Sphinx of Giza replica (*with nose*).
It turned into a good color mixing lesson as well. We color the white with Crayola washable markers – Zack’s instructions – and blend it in by squishing and kneading, adding more color to make it darker if needed. She used brown, which has a lot of red in it, so she knew to add green to balance it out and make it more tan than pink. She also used a bit of yellow.
Little Passports also sent an excavation kit (shaped like a pyramid) that housed a mummy toy and a tiny bust of a pharaoh.
With LP, came a recipe for Aish Baladi – tiny whole wheat bread loaves – which they compared to pita bread. We learned Aish means life in Egyptian Arabic. They forgot to flatten them before they let them rise – well, I suppose another version is I forgot to remind them…but they baked perfectly.
Our Story of the World history lessons just so happened to line up with our LP kit this month, and we relearned in greater detail about pharaohs, mummies, pyramids, and Joseph.
Next month, we’ll learn about Australia through Little Passports and Ireland, on our own, for St. Pat’s Day.
Zack is off for his second “ice day” this week! It’s so great having him around!
In honor of such an oddly scheduled week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to dump a load of photos off into a weather-related post.
We had a warm day followed directly by a very cold day. Not so unusual for where we live, but I took photos, so into a post the statement goes…
During the snow/ice storm, we irresponsibly took the girls thirty miles away to watch Lego Movie 2, The Second Part. There were a couple other (literally, two) crazies who also took their kids to the theater that night.
The snow day also allowed for plenty of time to build and build with Legos (which they’re continuing as I type this, days later).
…and they played in the snow.
They came back with the sweetest rosy cheeks and noses.
(we also still had school on these days.)
Katie has dubbed herself an outside cat. We’ve tried bribing and force (on the below freezing nights) and always kennel Maybe before inviting her in. Nothing works.
As a result, she is always underfoot when we walk outside and we often find her sitting just outside the door looking in. I hope it gets warm soon so we can spend plenty of time with her! (But, the snow is lovely.)
We spent the better part of an afternoon making each other valentines…and one invite for Dad, who didn’t make it, ’cause he was at work (so we brought him lunch). He set up a hunt for us that morning that led to treats!
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…