Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Recent Reads

Since I love to read, and usually get through a large amount of books each year, I thought it would be fun to make a list of some of my favorites from the past few months.  I read a variety of self-help, memoir, fiction, and YA.  Most of these are books I read myself, but a few are new-to-me books I enjoyed with the kids.

The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin (Her Podcast is awesome, too!)

 This is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Burbaker Bradley

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen (Linus LOVED this one!)

Where The Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (Read-aloud with the kids!  Every day they'd beg me to read just a little bit more!)

Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki

Monday, May 7, 2018

Right now...

We've had some wonderful sunshine in the last few weeks, so we've been spending lots of time outside!
I've been doing lots of yard work, fixing up our garden beds, preparing to turn part of our driveway into sort of a patio area, and planting lots more raspberry plants.  The kids love to eat raspberries right off the plant, and they've done well in our yard, so I'm planting lots more!  I dug up the grass along the fence to make beds for them.

One if my favorite things about little boys, is that they've all gone through the "bug phase".  Simon and Linus are there now, and they have been glued to my side as I've been working in the yard.  Every move of my shovel seems to reveal a worm or bug, and the little boys have been in heaven!  It's so cute and fun!

Just for fun, a couple of weeks ago, we went yurt camping for a night.  It was by the beach, and we were blessed with beautiful weather.  Though short, it was a lovely little mini-vacation!

I revamped my meal planning at the beginning of the year, and my plan is still going strong, which means it's working!  I'm not sure why it's working, since I've tried coming up with plans before and failed, but I'm just going with it!  :)  Sunday is soup night, Monday is pasta, then there's Taco Tuesday. Since the kids eat dinner at AWANA on Wednesday, Seth, the little boys, and I usually make something fun like pizza.  We usually make Asian or Mexican on Thursday, Friday we have Tortilla soup, then Saturday is open for other family favorites, casseroles, etc.  This schedule has made planning meals easy, grocery shopping easy, and has even helped me reign in my grocery budget, which has been amazing!

Our school year is still going well.  I'm still happy with our curriculum choices, though I feel like some of our "fun" things have gone a bit by the wayside, so I want to get back to some of those things.  Right now my plan for summer is to have the kids do just a bit of schoolwork each day, maybe math and grammar, or some history or world studies like we did last summer.  I think that doing this will help us keep up a bit of the schedule that helps our day go so much more smoothly.  We'll see if this sticks, or if we get lazy! ;)

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Simon is Three!

This boy.....

He is loud, crazy, imaginative, sweet, fiesty, busy, independent, loving, and helpful.  He is someone people notice and remember. And now he's three!

He LOVES Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, so we used that as the theme for his family party.  The big kids helped me put everything together, and it turned out great!

Happy birthday, Simon!  We love you!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Our Current Homeschool Routine

This is our fourth year homeschooling, and I think we're finally figuring out what works for our family, because it's been our best year yet.

With Benjamin in 3rd grade, Joanna in 2nd, Ezra in 1st, and 3 preschoolers/toddlers, here's what our days look like right now:

Early morning:
The kids are up at 6:00, and they have a little over an hour to play before our clean up/chore alarm goes off between 7:15 and 7:30.  They clean up their toys, get dressed, and do their dishes or laundry jobs.  The older kids have taken over about 2/3 of the laundry jobs, which has been amazing!!
We have breakfast, then all the kids have "book time" (reading or looking at books of their choice), while I finish cleaning up the kitchen and getting ready for the day.
On a good day, I like to read a few picture books to the younger boys, then do "morning time" with the older kids.  Morning time includes "Bedtime Math", working through "Our 24 Family Ways" devotional book, and reading a poem.  If we're running behind, we'll skip this and go straight to the next part of our morning.

Next up is our table work.  The three older kids all have a few activities that they complete at the table, while I rotate working individually with them for 10-15 minutes.  I'm currently teaching Ezra to read, by working through Alphaphonics.  He practices writing letters, then is free to draw or look at a book for the rest of table time.  In our one on one time, both Benjamin and Joanna read aloud to me, just to work on comprehension, pronunciation, and reading slowly (paying attention and not skipping words!).

For the rest of his table work, Benjamin does a couple of pages in Abeka's Arithmetic 2, does a page of handwriting practice, either from a workbook, or by writing out a Bible verse.  He also completes a couple of pages of grammar from "Daily Guided Teaching and Review for 2nd & 3rd Grades", from the Easy Grammar curriculum.  This has been a great basic grammar book to start with, but I'm soon going to be switching him to "Learning Language Arts Through Literature", which is a bit more comprehensive and includes spelling, grammar, reading comprehension, penmanship and cursive writing, and thinking skills.  I'm planning on doing this with him during our one on one time instead of having him read to me.
Joanna's table work includes doing two pages of Arithmetic 1, a handwriting page (she just finished a cursive writing practice book, per her request), and a page from a basic grammar book.  Once she's finished with that book, she'll be moving on to the Easy Grammar book Ben has been doing.
It usually takes about an hour for us to complete these tasks.

I finish up our school time by reading aloud a chapter from a Life of Fred book, and a section from our history book.  We're doing American History this year, using "A Living History of Our World: America's Story", a Charlotte Mason style history book. I simply read a section, and if applicable, the kids will add an illustration to the timeline we're making.

Then, the kids clean up the table and spend a few minutes outside while I make lunch.  I usually read a chapter from our current read-aloud (Farmer Boy, right now) while the kids eat. Then, we spend about two hours at "rest time", which means everyone goes to a separate space and does quiet activities (usually reading, drawing, or Legos).  The rest of our afternoon is free time before the craziness of clean up/dinner/bedtime routines begin!

This is our "typical" school schedule, but it only actually happens 3-4 days per week.  We take most of Wednesdays off, since Seth is home, every other Friday we have a co-op with friends, and I have put Tuesdays aside as "fun" days.  Tuesday is our day to do extra things I can't get to on normal days; art, games, sometimes oral spelling or creative writing.  We do our normal school day on Saturday, since Seth is at work anyway.

Also, this is what happens on good days! ;) We have plenty of bad days too!  The younger boys typically play together or watch a movie during school, but if one of them is especially cranky, I might need to do more with them and skip some of our school stuff.  We also deal with our share of complaining and bad attitudes!  Just today, one kid got in trouble for having a bad attitude, and one of the kids write this note:

Everything is a work in progress!  But finding curriculum that I like and works for us, and having a dedicated school time where that is my sole focus has completely changed our days and what we are able to accomplish!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

The week between Christmas and New Years is my favorite of the year!  It's of course fun to have new things to use and enjoy, but I also love taking a whole week to reflect on the past year and make plans for the coming year.  Seth had several days off, so we spent plenty of time relaxing and resting, but we also did some decluttering and goal planning (two of my favorite things!). I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store for us in 2018!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


This adorable little boy recently turned one, and he is enjoying all the new freedoms he has found through walking!

He can now join the big kids in things like climbing up slides....

He LOVES playing outside (and getting filthy)!

And fruit is one of his favorite things!  He helped himself to this peach from my grocery bags!

He is discovering and trying new things every day and it is so fun to watch!  He just started getting teeth, waving, and giving kisses!  He is such a sweet little boy!  I love this age so much!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A few fun things...

1.  Ezra is 6!

We celebrated by having a fun Lego party with family, then he spent most of his actual birthday playing with all his presents!  We had orange chicken for dinner (a popular birthday request at our house!), and per our new tradition, he got to stay up late and and do something fun with Mom and Dad (he wanted to play Legos!).  It was a great weekend celebrating our special boy!

2. School is officially done for the summer!  Benjamin still has to do his testing, and we are going to be doing a few school-ish things over the summer, but the rest of our work is done and we're ready for some fun!

3. This vegan pancake recipe is my new favorite pancake recipe! I discovered it when I wasn't eating eggs (I can eat them again!), but I liked this recipe better than my old one.  Not only is it super frugal because there are no milk and eggs (especially when you have to use pricey alternative milks), but it's perfect for any time you have run out of either of those things.  But, they are really light and fluffy, even with whole wheat flour!