Friday, February 28, 2014

February Homeschool Review

I'm feeling pretty good about where we are at right now with homeschooling. Are there things I wanted to do that we didn't get to do? Sure! Lots! (I do think I set my sights a little high sometimes!) Science took a bit of a hit this month, but I tell myself that the kids get it at least once a week in their homeschool program. We've been really enjoying Narnia and CS Lewis this last month. I just think the kids are doing so well, I'm still really enjoying it, and I can't wait to get going on another month.

  • Math U See - Jack is on Gamma Lesson 18, Kate is on Delta Lesson 10
  • Flashmaster - have been fairly regular using this device and the kids don't seem to mind it
  • Life of Fred -  Matt finished 2nd reading of Cats, we are through ch8 in Dogs
  • Math Games - some, but not great
  • Teaching Textbooks & IXL - none at all, but not in the plan
Language Arts
  • First Language Lessons 3 - finished oral skills lessons, put off dictionary skills because it was recommended that we be through lesson 80-something first, currently on lesson 79
  • Writing With Ease 3 - on week 15
  • Online Grammar/Writing class (Kate) - as planned, Kate seems to be doing well, is independent with this work
  • Professor Grammar's Punctuation Packets workbook (Kate) - not much left in this workbook
  • Tutoring (Jack) - 2-3x/week - done as planned
  • Increasing Fluency 2 (Jack) - on Lesson 17
  • Improve Reading & Writing Skills Workbook (Jack) - Nope
  • Daily Reading Comprehension - just started back this last week
  • Spelling City - Jack will continue tutor's spelling list; Kate did states (also restarted Spelling Workout workbook just this week)
  • Teach All Kids packets (Jack) - Nope
  • Cursive - Kate finished Cursive Writing Practice: Jokes & Riddles workbook and started (by request) Cursive Writing Practice:Inspiring Quotes workbook (no idea where she is in the workbook because she is independent with this work), just starting Handwriting Without Tears Cursive with Jack in the last few days. So far, so good!
  • Read, Write, Type program (Jack) - completed, need to figure out how to reset and do again
  • Keyboarding (Kate) - practicing several times a week via various programs
  • Sentence Family & Grammarland & The Giggly Guide to Grammar - started Grammarland, on ch. 4, but we might stop and do this after we finish our formal grammar program for the year (which could be in the next 6 weeks or so) because it is a good homeschool resource for when we travel
  • How to Write, Recite and Delight in All Kinds of Poetry - we couldn't find the book and now it is back at the library. Will probably recheck out and start again soon
  • Assigned reading - Kate read Justin Morgan Had a Horse and The Giver, Jack continues Stink series.
  • Audiobook - working our way through the Narnia series, currently at the very end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (and watching the movies as we finish each book!)
  • What's Physics All About - I think we only read a few pages... I get too wrapped up in other things!
  • Brain study - nope
  • Science packets - nope
History/Social Studies
  • History of the World - on ch 17
  • Bible stories - keep reading as inspired
  • Geography - want to get back to some of our games & puzzles
  • C.S. Lewis - doing a lot with CS Lewis - various books, videos, etc. Really enjoying A Book of Narnians (Jack likes it enough, I might buy a copy) and The Land of Narnia
  • Edgar Allen Poe - not really, the books I got from the library ended up being kinda boring
  • Maybe Sir Isaac Newton, Einstein - nope
Physical Fitness 
  • Swim Team - 2-3x/week, plus 2 swim meets for Kate - Yup!
  • Volleyball (Kate) weekly - Yup!
  • Basketball (Jack) weekly - Yup!
  • Ski School - 2-3x - Yup!
  • Hiking - nope, except for that one walk... blah...
Art/Home Ec
  • Baking - Kate's been baking, still want to do something more formal
  • Sewing - nope
  • Knitting (Kate) - we may have lost interest. I need to decide if I should encourage it or not.
  • Architecture class online - after the second was just okay, we didn't do anymore
  • Meditation - 2-3x/week - nope, although maybe
  • Gratitude Journal - daily - yes. This has been wonderful
  • ITBS workbook 3 (Jack)  2-3x/week just for test practice - not consistently
  • French (Kate) - French club weekly - yes, but want more... but what? Hmmm...
  • Logic - if we feel like it - nope
  • Apple 1:1 - nope - mad at myself about this one!
  • Playful eLearning courses - nope
  • Travel - none, except to the mountains for skiing
  • Field Trips - Humane Society (where I almost got a puppy! No more trips there!)
  • Homeschool program - weekly (math, language arts, art, history, science, technology) - done
  • Speech Therapy (Jack) - 2x/week - done

Monday, February 24, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

My beautiful 10 year old

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Right Now

My painting pottery idea was turned down as was my backup plan of going to the zoo. Instead Kate wanted to go shopping for her birthday...

Hello, pre-teen years!

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DayBook 2.24.14

(I added a few things to my DayBook that I feel like I'm missing)

Outside my window... a bit frosty this morning, but I think it's supposed to warm up nicely.

I am feeling... a little sad that Kate turns 10 today. Of course I'm happy for her (and she is THRILLED to be in the double digits!), but it's the first birthday that I've struggled with. TEN. That's more than halfway to being out of the house. She's closer to being a college student now than she is to being a newborn. Ack!

I am thinking... about spring. I can tell it's coming. Haven't had that first feels-like-spring day yet and there are definitely more cold days to come, but spring is on the horizon. I can feel it in my bones!
I am thankful for... my crockpot.
From the kitchen... I made a bunch of taquitos (recipe thanks to a friends visiting last week!) for the freezer the end of last week, roasted 2 chickens yesterday (had some for dinner last night, not sure what I'll do with the meat this week... maybe BBQ sandwiches or more taquitos or a chicken marinara pasta I saw online this morning), put the carcasses in the crockpot overnight for broth, now have a roast in the crockpot for French Dip Sandwiches for dinner tonight (Kate's birthday request - we'll also have sweet potato fries and ice cream cake!). I'm also itching to make some granola.
I am wearing... white tennis skirt, teal and blue athletic top, teal fleece, and red socks (time to do laundry!)
I am creating... a baby quilt! Just started over the weekend, and I should finish it up this week. I forgot how fun and fast baby quilts are to make.
I am going... to look into volunteering with hospice. It just sorta hit me out of nowhere a couple weekends ago. I was good at it in the hospital, I need something, I think it will be pretty flexible, and I'm hoping it will motivate me to activate my RN license. We'll see. I still need to call for info.
I am reading... finished a bunch in the last week or so - Sex at Dawn (found this fascinating, sorta makes me want to live in a commune, want to read a second time), Notes From a Blue Bike (Eh. Good, not great yet still inspiring), The Giver (not what I was expecting, still digesting it), Looking for Alaska (by same author as The Fault in Our Stars so had to read it), Younger Next Year for Women (didn't realize this was for the 50-60 year old crowd when I checked it out from the library, inspired me to move more, also gave a lot of good reading recs).  Yesterday I started A Winter's Tale. It's supposed to be good, but right now at just a few chapters in, it's feeling long and tedious. Feeling like I just want to see the movie! A friend recommended The Social Animal, and I really want to stop all other books and start it! Almost done with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader with the kids.

I am hoping... I hear from a friend soon.

I am hearing... the furnace and Matt getting ready for work upstairs.

Around the house... I gotta clean my kitchen today!! Yowsers. And declutter. Again. How do we keep getting so much stuff?!?

In the homeschool room... Jack has tutoring, and Kate has French club today. Jack and I will hit the coffee shop for some work and chess or checkers while Kate is at French. We'll take it easy the rest of the day because it is Kate's birthday. I might take them to paint pottery this afternoon.

How I'm exercising... I ran 2x this weekend! A bit painful, but I did it. Singles match this morning followed by (hopefully!) some strength training.

Something that irks me... when people cross solid white lines on the highway. Am I the only one who listened in driver's ed?

One of my favorite things... Hawaiian lime butter on waffles.

A few plans for the rest of the week: other than the family birthday party tonight, just normal stuff: tennis, swim practice, a few runs, ski school, etc.

Here is a picture I am sharing: later... got to get to tennis!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February Resolutions

So it is more than halfway through February, but I never wrote about my February resolutions. I did make them, but I'm not doing very well at fulfilling them... not sure what I've done this month...

Home - "New" dining room/living room - I picked an easy room (actually 2!) for this month, because I knew we'd be busy. These just mostly need a little sprucing up. Hang artwork (tired of the leaning-against-the-wall-look), reframe a painting (frame broke when it fell off the wall but that's ok because I never really liked the frame anyway), hang sconces over buffet (done!), replace electric outlets (delegated to Matt), clean out under buffet, fix torn throw pillows, make holiday buntings for fireplace, re-decorate mantle, think about what I want in a few empty spots. That's all I can think of right now. Not much has actually gotten accomplished in there yet.

Photos - February - this whole resolution is going very poorly...

Creative - Make a quilt for Jack. I've made some progress, but I can tell it won't be finished by the end of this month.

Finance - Never got around to making a dual commitment with Nona, so I went with an individual one to make reviewing our family budget (I use Mvelopes) a more frequent occurrence. In the past I've just reviewed it monthly (or less!), and I'm trying to make a habit of looking at it at least weekly. Keeps me a little more motivated. I'm doing really well with this, although that fallen tree put a dent in my savings plan for February...

Health/Fitness - I was so wishy washy about what I wanted to practice for February. I sorta wanted to do a daily ab practice but decided to switch it to just getting into the weight room a few times a week. I've been good at that! And mostly doing ab work... I'll add more as the year goes...

Mind/Spirit - I'm taking a weekly energy class for my resolution this month. Love it, although I've missed the last couple "live" classes, I've been good about doing my homework. Back at it this week.

Monday, February 17, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

And nervous at the same time. Not sure how I feel about all the speed and air!

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Right Now

In my backyard...
My thoughts...

  • Thank goodness no people or cars or houses or hot tubs or chickens were hurt in the fall (well, a little gutter damage, but we can handle that!)
  • I hope the birdhouse hanging in that tree survived the fall! I hope my fancy bird feeder didn't break.
  • And where or where am I going to spend my lazy summer afternoons?!? That's my hammock tree!!
  • And really? How lucky is that fall? Right down the driveway!
  • And I'm really sad for our tree.
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Friday, February 14, 2014

DayBook 2.14.14

Outside my window... so much snow in the mountains!! And icicles like you've never seen. Layers of them coming off the roof. At least 5 layers deep! I tried to take a photo, but it doesn't capture it. The sun is shining, and I feel a bit guilt that I'm sitting inside.
I am thinking... that I need to reschedule some tennis matches soon.
I am thankful for... the internet. How would I waste so much time without it?!?
From the kitchen... have some high protein banana muffins just out of the oven, making chicken gyros for dinner (my kids will eat anything in a pita!) and chili ready for tomorrow night if we want it.  I also bought some pretzel rolls from Costco (a treat that I don't get often!) to make roast beef sandwiches or corn beef sandwiches. Yum! I think I'll make a black eyed pea salad as a side. Suddenly feeling motivated to get in the kitchen...
I am wearing... my trusty JCrew Pixie pants, a slouchy sweater and my slippers.
I am creating... going to finish the binding on Kate's quilt this weekend.  Also working on the binding for a quilted Valentine's Day table runner that I made a couple years ago but never finished.
I am going... to go to the movies tonight. All these amazing romantic movies coming out today - Endless Love, Winter's Tale, etc. - and for Valentine's Day, I'm going to... The Lego Movie. Matt is working so I'm taking the kids out. Guess I'll catch the romance on Netflix...
I am reading... since the last time I wrote a DayBook, I finished The Fault in Our Stars (love!) and This Is Where I Leave You (good - so funny and irreverent - so much sex - but not romance novel sex - funny sex - and an overuse of the word "a$$" - but good!). Also finished Prince Caspian with the kids and now onto The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. My current personal reads are Sex at Dawn (nonfiction, pretty interesting) and Notes From a Blue Bike.

I am hoping... for a fun week.

I am hearing... the fireplace and the walls creaking under snow.

Around the house... I should clean out a drawer or a closet or something up here in our mountain place. "Stuff" just tends to collect.

One of my favorite things... eating fresh snow! (I shouldn't admit to that, should I?)

A few plans for the rest of the week: friends in town, hopefully a few runs (on the treadmill), some skiing (maybe cross country? but I sorta need a buddy), haircut, and I really need a pedicure!

Here is a picture I am sharing: See? I tried to take a photo, but it is ten thousand times better in real life...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Right Now

Our mother-daughter book club meeting & skyping with author Heather Vogel Frederick.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Right Now

Frosty day for our first daily walk!

It's spectacular out!

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Sunday, February 09, 2014


I started reading Notes From a Blue Bike yesterday (because my goal for the weekend was to finish some of the books I've already started, so I went and started a new one instead!). I'm only on Part I, but I'm already feeling inspired. Not that there is really anything new that I haven't heard or thought of before, just the confirmation that I'm not alone (and right on trend!) in wanting life to be different. Slower. Less busy. Enjoyable.

I think we already have a slower life style than many. I'm pretty good at identifying when things are getting too busy (I start daydreaming about raising chickens and goats!) and slowing us down, and several times a year we take a break from "life" for extended travel. But there is always room for improvement. A consistent need to evaluate and tweak. And it is time to look at our homeschooling.

When we started homeschooling, I had these dreams of what it would look like. Lazy learning on the couch together. Studying at a coffee shop. Hiking, walking, exploring. Science experiments in the kitchen. Baking and cooking together. And we do all that, but not enough anymore. And it feels rushed. Somehow our homeschooling has evolved into mostly just getting it done. Making the list and checking things off as fast as we can.

Jack's speech therapist told us that she came across a new word and thought of us. "Schola" she told us means "leisure." The online definitions are more "leisure of learning" or "leisure time given to learning," and we can see that Latin root in "school" and "scholar" and "scholastic." I love that! The idea that learning isn't work, it's fun! So I'm going to try to get back to our homeschool roots. Move back towards the leisurely side of learning.

So here are my thoughts on where to place our homeschool time priorities...
(I hate to say homeschool "time" because really I consider our homeschooling/learning to be taking place all day, every day. However, we do most of our traditional learning during week days.)

  1. Have a little bit more of a routine. That may sound counter intuitive to being slower and more relaxed, but with no routine, we (meaning mostly me!) sometimes chase our tails or get side tracked or just do nothing which just leads to rushing and stress to get things accomplished later. This routine isn't going to be set in stone, more like a rhythm. I think I'll start with a morning routine list for the kids like we've done in the past. Jack responds really well to a routine list. Simple things like make bed, brush teeth, eat breakfast, pick up clothes, etc. I'll probably add a few "homeschool" items to that list like doing our gratitude journal.
  2. Go for more walks. I'm going to make this a daily thing. Maybe first thing in the morning after breakfast. Rain/shine/snow we are going to go for a walk. Or a hike. Or a bike ride.
  3. Play more games. We love to play games! But we tend to put them off until after all our "work" is done. Which it never seems to be. Or we are tired by that point. And if I want to be all "homeschool" about it, games are so much better for logic than a stupid workbook.
  4. Clean up! I gotta get the homeschool room cleared out and cleaned up so that we can function better. I might leave the mountains early today to go home and do that. Feeling motivated.
  5. Institute quiet reading time into our routine. Probably in the afternoons just after lunch. I think the 3 of us can sit together and read independently. (And selfishly, I'll get some reliable reading time every day!)
  6. Do away with our homeschool daily checklist! I think it is overwhelming for Jack and boring for Kate. (Ok, maybe I'll still keep one for me just so I don't forget what we need to do!)
  7. Take the "home" out of homeschool. We do pretty well with this in good weather, but we haven't been to a coffee shop or the library to study in quite awhile. Going to get out more!
  8. More field trips. I need to make a list because sometimes I can't think of anything last minute.
  9. Going to do the children's illustrator curriculum that I've been wanting to do but have felt too busy to do! We'll just ease up on math and language...
  10. I'm going to lower my standards. For me. For the kids. For the house. For meals. For getting it all done. (Although as I write this, I wonder if my standards can actually get any lower?!?)
I'll let you know how it goes. I think we'll start tomorrow!

Saturday, February 08, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

White tail, Red

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Interfaith Exchange

My sister sent me an email chain letter requesting a favorite quote/prayer/meditation/verse/etc be sent out to others. I don't usually respond to stuff like that, but I like this particular one. This prayer I shared is one of my favorites. The first line certainly is the best first line of any prayer ever. Sometimes I just stop after that first line. It seems to sum up my needs so succinctly.
The Prayer of Thomas Merton 
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

This Makes Me Happy

Heading out to snowshoe within minutes of arriving in the mountains

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Right Now

After a couple of days adjustment, I'm starting to find the meditative enjoyment of hand washing dishes.
But I'm not going to stop the dishwasher repairman coming tomorrow...

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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

DayBook 2.4.14

Outside my window...Snowing!

I am thinking... about how happy I feel right now.
I am thankful for... tummy bugs that only last 24 hours
From the kitchen... seems like I cooked enough last week that it should last into this week!  We have leftover sloppy Joes and sweet potato fries from this weekend. Made a triple batch of crepes yesterday morning. Want to make sweet potato soup (meant to do that last week), Chex mix and banana muffins for the freezer. I only need to make 2 dinners this week. Thinking southwestern risotto and baked potatoes.
I am wearing... yoga pants and a few layers on top. I'm cold!
I am creating... a quilt for Jack. After changing my mind multiple times, I've finally decided on a pattern. Got a good start on piecing it. Trying to do at least 5-10 minutes everyday.
I am going... to put my kids to bed early tonight.
I am reading... just finished The Kill Order (the prequel to the Maze Runner series) yesterday. Starting The Fault in Our Stars today. I don't really know the story, but I'm pretty sure I'll cry. **edited to add that I just watched the preview for the movie, and I cried! During the trailer!**
I am hoping... that the laundry fairy visits me and finishes the piles for me.

I am hearing... the hum of the fridge and the tick of the kitchen clock. So quiet!

Around the house... I think I'll send Matt out to buy paint for our family room (aka the old dining room). Maybe I'll even start painting this week!

One of my favorite things... working dishwashers! Ours quit yesterday, and I'm already tired of washing dishes by hand!

A few plans for the rest of the week: mostly normal stuff, but I am going to sneak away for a night alone!

Here is a picture I am sharing: Kate and her "trophy" from the swim meet this weekend

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Right Now

Unwilling to venture any further out in the snow... Just turned around and went back inside!

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Saturday, February 01, 2014

January Resolutions Update

Can't believe it is already Feb 1! Here's how I did on my January resolutions...

Home - Kate's Room - pretty much finished! We are waiting on a few prints I've ordered from Etsy plus I want to buy a couple more frames on my next trip to IKEA. I didn't get around to painting the trim. Just lost my painting oomph. Also need to hang 2 shelves over her bed, but we have to have the handyman do that since we have these crazy old plaster walls. I'll post some photos soon.

Photos - this was a complete disaster. Didn't work on it once... gotta plan something better for February

Creative - Kate's Mermaid Quilt - it is completely quilted, just have 2 more sides of binding to finish hand stitching. I usually don't sit down *just* to hand stitch, so I'll need to watch a movie soon! Will certainly be complete for her birthday later this month. I'll post photos after I give it to her.

Finance - No Amazon - much to my surprise, this was an eye-opening experience for me. I'll write more about it later. I did really well. No Amazon (well, I did have an automatic shipment that came). But I did place an order this morning...

Health/Fitness - Yoga - I was sorta feeling like this was a failure, but when I really thought about it, most weeks I fit in 2-3 yoga sessions (even if just for 15 min!). So much more than I've done previously, so I'm trying not to be hard on myself. I'd be thrilled if I could continue yoga 2-3x/week.

Mind/Spirit - Meditation - I had good weeks and bad weeks of practicing regularly, but like the yoga, I certainly meditated more than normal. I like getting back into the habit.

I'm thrilled with what I accomplished on Kate's room and my quilt (no the photos... boo!). The finance resolution gave me a lot to ponder regarding my purchasing habits, and I'm going to try to keep up my semi-formed habits of yoga and meditation going forward into the year.

February resolutions coming soon!

Right Now

Bundled up to feed chickens

(And not happy I took a picture!)

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