Monday, December 28, 2009

Cute Words

 I think the words "nineapple" and "banamic" (pineapple and balsamic) are two of the cutest words in the world. I'm also thinking my two year old has sophisticated tastes. We frequently have blue cheese dressing on our salads and her Dad and I add Balsamic to that. The pineapple is a seperate snack.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas Part 2

Merry Christmas everyone. We celebrate Christmas today because my step-daughter is with us.

My husband totally surprised me and spoiled me. Here is the first way he spoiled me:


It's a Chickadee Nest. He spent a lot of time hollowing out the inside of that trunk to make it for me. I think they will enjoy it (and I also). Isn't it too cool? It has a dowel inside for the Chickadees to roost on.

He also got me a fancy schmancy food that can dehydrate at low temperatures for the health benefits of eating raw food. I'm so excited to get using it.

Here are some pics of the girls. They are so much fun. Enjoy.






Friday, December 25, 2009


I have no Christmas photos to share. They did not turn out to my liking. Darkness and I don't get along when it comes to taking photos. Then this morning there was great light, but there was a lot of glare too and I should have taken photos with the sun at my back, but I didn't.

My step-daughter Mariah is coming tomorrow. We decided not to open presents from under the tree until she gets here. So the girls had their stocking goodies to play with today. I made coffee cake for breakfast - half whole wheat and it was especially yummy. Rachel had her gluten free version from the gluten free store. We are pretty much all feeling sick again. Argh. I just felt better. Some kind of cold. I am, of course, praying we will all feel better soon - tomorrow morning would be great. The baby (well toddler) was QUITE GRUMPY today. She just didn't deal well with feeling sick today. But, she's so active she doesn't want to just be held - so there was a lot of whininess.

We are celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I have had such a great day today, on this lovely Christmas Eve. It was lovely and blue here this morning - crisp with lots of frost. Just a little ways away was a blanket of fog...which I was out in most of the day. This was probably where we got the fantastic frost from. My favorite part of today was that it didn't matter how crazy it didn't matter how gray and foggy it was...everyone was in a jovial mood. It made me want to smile.

Here is a secret...we took the morning this morning listening to Christmas songs and decorating the tree. No the presents are not all wrapped...although my children wrapped the ones they were giving. Many decorations are still out on the floor. And I need to make more Christmas cookies tonight. I made some for our business the other night and brought a few home, but tonight I need to make a few that are gluten free for my little gluten free girl. We don't do many Christmas cookies around here for two reasons. One) we have absolutely no self-control, and Two) they make us feel terribly ill. I actually feel guilty (can you believe it?) when I hear many of you talk of all the kinds of Christmas cookies you have made. If I could let them just sit there in front of me without indulging...I might do that too. Nonetheless, for the girls, we are making some cookies tonight.

Letting You All Know

I have neglected (for a couple days) letting you all know some WONDERFUL NEWS. Those gigantic BPA lines (the kind that feed a whole city) that they were proposing going in the length of our property have been dropped from the proposal (and they originally told us it would be two plus years till we would hear anything). We think they were dropped in part to lots of grass roots protesting...after all they weren't just going to affect us, but thousands of land owners. Isn't that an answer to prayer?

So, here are some pictures...not right on our property, but close enough I think to have had the prospect of potentially being impacted by those lines. Aren't these pictures gorgeous. And let me tell you that they just don't capture what I saw with my eyes. God is amazing.



Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Shhhh. Don't tell Jon I put this picture up of him. :) It might not stay up long.

This is what happens to you, when you are a Dad of girls, and you decide to take a nap on the floor.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I'm always amazed how intricate babies are from the very youngest gestation. Truly I was knit together by the creator in my mother's womb.

A Light Show

I just wanted to pop in here and share this fantastic light show we saw in our sky this afternoon just before sunset.



Monday, December 21, 2009

Family Photo

Just popping in to share a photo of my girls and some of their cousins (these are the quads with my girls - all eight years old, two boys, two girls - they are about the same age as my oldest, Natalie).


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nature Walk

I was reading and writing about Charlotte Mason today, so I decided that I should do what I feel is central in our style of education - and get myself outside with my children, even during these dark, rainy days.

So we went to see the falls. It's hard to believe there are so many beautiful falls and pieces of river so close to where we live. They are just breathtaking. Even this time of year. 






Charlotte Mason talks about visiting special places not just during one season, but during multiple seasons - to see how nature changes over the seasons and to make observations about those changes.

I searched through my old photos to try and compare the river now with the river is summer or early fall. It's really amazing the difference - the fullness, the smoothness, the swiftly moving and even swirling currents. All I could find is this picture - which isn't the exact picture of anything I took today. But you can see how different this look. Nowhere on the river do you see river rocks sticking up this time of year (except for the very biggest boulders).


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do You Do It All?

Do you ever find that your homeschooling doesn't happen in a vacuum. We should and do try to institute 12 steps to a cleaner house. We have the kids help out with chores. We try to limit how much the kids are allowed to get out at once. Yet, if we allow them to be creative at all, if we allow them to enjoy learning from time to time, then order turns to chaos. Well, at least for me. I know of a few perfect people, but I'm not one of them. I'll keep trying though. I'll keep trying to be a loving mom, homeschool with a passion, keep a clean house, eat well and feed my family well, love God, and take time for me. But, I for one, although I believe we should keep pressing forward, don't do it all. Do you?



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Younger Homeschooler

I've taken a more laid back approach with my second homeschooler when it comes to reading and doing lessons. I read a lot to her. She reads a little to me. We go through the phonics cards. And she does math worksheets. Then, of course she listens in are her sisters lessons.

It's amazing how much she catches on it. She'll ask to write something on the grocery list and try to sound it out according to the phonics rules (which as you know doesn't always make it right). Lately, she's been taken to "reading" her older sister's chapter books - which really amounts to looking at the illustrations, but also involves trying to decipher some tougher words. I'm so proud of her when she comes to me and reads to me a fairly difficult sentence that she obviously took a long time deciphering. That's the power of reading to your kids and igniting their own love for learning. It's an amazing thing to watch.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Just Who I Am

It's funny how sometimes we try and be something or someone other than who we actually are, who our creator created us to be. I say "WE" because I'm assuming others do the same thing I do. Particularly we try to be that popular person or that social person. We worry that others don't like us. Perhaps it's a childhood thing...and perhaps it's just me...but I'm pretty sure others have walked this same path.

The really ironic thing is that others at the same time as we are trying to be liked by them, have their own situations going on underneath the surface. Maybe they are friendly to us, but a solid connection never comes from it. Perhaps they seem judgemental. But, are they really? I listened to a conversation lately, about a shy (but oh so sweet) young lady. Her mom said she had had some trouble with kids at school picking on her, particularly on the bus. This young lady would never outright tell her mom about it because she is such a people pleaser. But, the teasing and hostility built up and mom found out about it. The other partner in this conversation said that perhaps being shy and reserved was something intimidating to the other young ladies. What? Being someone who is usually reserved with all but those closest to me, I am unclear as to how being reserved would be intimidating? My view of being reserved is that it is a weakness. But, perhaps it really is neutral and that other people have their own weaknesses in how they view and accept others.

The best feedback I've ever gotten either on my photography blog or on my homeschooling blog, has been when I am writing just for me. On my photography blog, for instance, sometimes I write tutorials, mainly just so that I can go back to them myself - because I'll forget a certain technique even when I had previously mastered it.

In the homeschooling world, I like to ponder different methods of learning. If you're a long term reader of my blog, you probably know that I have a fondness for Charlotte Mason Methods, but also like the self-teaching philosophy of Robinson, and the serious nature of the Classical Method (although I'm not too fond of repitition - which in some forms of the Classical Method is a really strong component). Basically, my favorite teaching method is an old-fashioned, nurturing, self-learning style.

I think I'm getting more into my groove there. This is not to say that you need to follow my groove. In fact, unless you are an awfully lot like me, the things I do will probably drive you crazy.

When I started homeschooling and indeed before that when my oldest daughter was in Preschool, I was really itching to get started and wanted to get a good head start teaching. Now, under some influence of Robinson and Miss. Mason, as well as the influence of a child who definitely wasn't ready for formal learning at the age of five, I really see age seven or eight as the start of education. Before that intelligent conversation, phonics practice, reading practice, reading aloud, and some light math practice are on the menu. I just think, to do more than say two hours a day with my first grader, is unhelpful to her learning.

Natalie (8) this year, though, is starting to teach herself math with Saxon 5/4. And it works out wonderfully. It really does. Not to say every day she wants to do 1-2 hours of math, but she does it, and she talks about her math and figures things out (like casually saying to me one morning "mom is 3/4's of 60, 45?") because she's thinking it through herself. She reads and does written narration. We also do read alouds as a family and oral narration. She takes her spelling from her own written narration - so it's not somthing foreign to her.

I also read recently about adding vocabulary memorization to her reading. Robinson does this (I don't currently own the Robinson curriculum, but I've read about it) - he has pretty challenging vocabulary from the texts they are reading and the kids are expected to memorize it. Do you know that what kids learned in order to graduate the eighth grade in the 1800's was as much as some learn through college now? Our kids can do more than we give them credit for.

And I want her to memorize poetry. But, the more I learn about self-teaching, the more I just want her to do it herself. So, I give her a fairly long poem at the beginning of the week and part of her reading time, she'll master that poem herself and present it to me at the end of the week. Having a more hands-off approach frees me up to clean my house, make bread, play with my toddler, go over phonics and reading with my six year old, and squeeze some time in for working at our business.

And, of course, being a Charlotte Mason fan, I want all my girls to do nature study. Having the girls do more self-learning frees up time for this - otherwise, it seems to me, with the duties of the house, there is just not enough time to fit that kind of thing in.

Well, these are just my new thoughts. The real changes for me are going to self-learning for poetry and adding vocabulary to the reading assignment. I also read recently that Robinson has the kids re-write their essay (written narration) the next day with corrections made. I'm debating about doing this as well.